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From left to right: Denise Griffiths, Operations Manager for WMRSASC, Andy Price, ISVA, Ruth Kimberley, ISVA Service Manager and Andy Larkin, ISVA

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion is investing over £700,000 in support services for victims of sexual violence across West Mercia – including additional funding in new projects.

The Commissioner pledged to put victims first and that will be a key priority in his Safer West Mercia Plan, with a focus on delivering improved and consistent services for victims to help them cope, recover and reduce re-victimisation.

The two support services that have been awarded with the funding are Axis Counselling & Psychotherapy and the West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (WMRSASC).

Along with the services already available to victims, the Commissioner is providing funding this year for extra Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs). WMRSASC has employed two male advisors to provide victims with a choice.

Funding has also been given to pilot two new schemes to specifically support families with children who have been victims of sexual violence, as well as to raise wider awareness of the issue in communities.

The PCC is also supporting preventative work within schools. A sexual violence resource pack, called ‘SELFIE’,  is aimed at 11 to 18 year-olds and is currently being delivered across Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The project looks at issues such as consent, what sexual violence/abuse is, sexting and pornography. A similar scheme for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin will follow in the coming months.

John Campion said: “Through supporting these services, I am delivering on my promise to put victims first. We work hard to prevent this awful crime from happening in the first place but, where it does occur, it’s important we have the right structures and resources to help people cope and recover and provide them with the best possible service.”

Denise Griffiths, Operations Manager for WMRSASC said: “There are very few male ISVAs working within the UK and WMRSASC is pleased to be able to provide this additional support for clients. This a key part of the on-going development of specialist sexual violence support services that WMRSASC provides.”