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Alison Hernandez announces new funding to help child sexual abuse victims in Devon and Cornwall

Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez is giving eight local organisations new money to help child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation.

Each will get a share of £140,000 provided by the Ministry of Justice to ensure practical and emotional support to victims.
 
The awards have been made to:
 
Children’s Society
Devon Rape Crisis
North Devon Against Domestic Abuse
Tor Support  
Victim Support
Spiral Pathways (collaboration involving CLEAR (Cornwall), Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, and Cornwall Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre)
 
The decision to award funding to these organisations recognises that, having become victims of sexual abuse and/or exploitation, children and young people are facing increased waiting times to access therapeutic services.
 
“It is my intention that this funding will be used to provide direct support for our most vulnerable children and young people to help them cope and recover from the trauma of their experience,” said Ms Hernandez.
 
“It will help reduce waiting lists and extend the help provided by existing services.”
 
The process attracted fourteen applications from a range of organisations, with bids totalling over £575,000.
 
Having completed an initial evaluation of applications, consultation took place with relevant partners to seek their views and ensure there was no duplication of effort in commissioning similar services.
 
“Ideally we would have liked to support all the applications received,” said Lyn Gooding, partnership officer for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), who was responsible for administering the process
 
“All were worthy of investment. However, with limited funding, the decision was made to prioritise those applications that helped address the increase in waiting times.”
 
Further details of the services to be provided are as follows:
 
The Children’s Society
Structured counselling sessions will be provided by qualified counsellors registered with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. These sessions will be tailored to individual needs using techniques that will be of value to the child or young person. Typically treatment will take place over 12-18 sessions which will last from 50-90 minutes. While filling gaps in existing services this project will also ensure that this project is fully supported by a larger multi-disciplinary team with a shared CSE/CSA remit.
 
Devon Rape Crisis
To expand face to face specialist support services and offer one evening session per week from 5pm-9pm in the main office base in Exeter.  The service would be open to women who have experienced CSA, CSE, rape or sexual assault, whether recently or in the past. Services will be free and offered irrespective of whether the crimes have been reported to the police.
 
North Devon Against Domestic Abuse
The project will provide additional therapeutic support to children and young people suffering the effects of sexual abuse.
 
Tor Support
The grant will be used to offer further counselling and invest in long term, professional and free support for five to 25 year olds, within Okehampton and its surrounding parishes who have experienced, or are considered at risk of having experienced, any form of sexual abuse.
 
Victim Support
Increasing the number of hours that staff are available to answer calls and carry out needs assessments on the telephone service, by 12 hours per week,
• Build resilience and resources to support survivors of CSA by providing specialist sexual violence training to the team of volunteers, allowing them to provide emotional and practical support to vulnerable people.
• Carry out targeted marketing to victims of historic CSA in Devon and Cornwall, highlighting the support available.
 
Spiral Pathways (Collaboration between CLEAR (Cornwall), Cornwall Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre & Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre)
Will offer a range of specialist support, matched to victims needs through expert assessment. Services include:
• Specialist support for children and young people (CYP) affected by child sexual exploitation (CSE) including 1-2-1 youth work, building healthy relationships, confidence and resilience, police liaison, family liaison/support, online safety, including help to stop and report online abuse/exploitation, removal of images

• Therapy services for male victims of child sexual abuse (CSA) where this is currently hard to access, particularly in North and East Cornwall where there are known waiting lists.
 

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