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More Consistent Support for Victims of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Abuse

 

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall, working in partnership with Cumbria County Council has commissioned Victim Support to deliver an Integrated Independent Domestic and Sexual Abuse Crisis Support Service to operate across the county providing support to high risk victims of domestic abuse and victims of rape and serious sexual assault. The new service, which commences on 1 May 2018, will also have a 24 hour-a-day support line meaning that people affected by domestic or sexual abuse will always be able to get in touch for support or information. The telephone number is 0808 16 89 111

Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “Improving the support to victims has never been more important, and is very much at the heart of what we do which is why I am particularly pleased to see the introduction of this integrated service for victims.

Not only because I believe that victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault deserve to get the help they need when they need it, but also because I want victims to have the confidence to come forward and report incidents safe in the knowledge that there is an effective service in place to support them, and one that can be flexible to changing demands.”

The service will provide support, practical help and advocacy for victims of domestic abuse who are at high risk of harm, and for victims of sexual abuse. This innovative approach will deliver a more consistent, joined-up service that will avoid victims slipping through the net and prevent duplication and confusion for victims. It will also provide improved resilience in a busy area of business in relation to availability of trained staff supporting some of our most vulnerable victims.  Victims of domestic abuse can often also experience sexual abuse so there are benefits in being able to gain support with the impact of all types of abuse from the same service.

The service will include specialist support for children and young people who are victims of serious sexual assaults. The service will work as part of the network of services provided through The Bridgeway for sexual assault victims.

Deborah Evans, Assistant Director Children and Families at Cumbria County Council said:

“Domestic abuse and sexual violence is a significant life event for victims and their children. Children Services are often involved in supporting children and young people living with the abuse of a parent or close family member so we are pleased to work in partnership with Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner to establish the Independent Domestic and Sexual Abuse Crisis Support Service.  Like the Police we encourage all victims of abuse to come forward and seek help to prevent further abuse and protect themselves and their children.”

Victim Support’s Claire Powell, Contract Manager for Cumbria and Lancashire said: “Victim Support has been supporting victims of crime, including domestic and sexual violence in Cumbria for over 40 years.  In the past 3 years we have developed an excellent and responsive specialist Independent Sexual Violence Service that has provided support to over 300 survivors of sexual abuse in the last 12 months alone.  Nationally, our organization employs the largest number of Independent Domestic Violence Advisors in the country.  We welcome the opportunity to pilot this new, integrated service in Cumbria enabling people to access the right support, at the right time through one front door.”

Detective Superintendent Vicki Ellis said:

“We take all reports of abuse incredibly seriously, and they are thoroughly and sensitively investigated. The latest HMICFRS inspection found that Cumbria Constabulary has the highest charged/summonsed rate in England and Wales for domestic abuse offences.

“The new integrated service will provide a comprehensive support service to victims of domestic and sexual abuse which will target the needs of the victim at the right time.

“People affected by abuse can contact the service themselves or be referred by an agency or the police.

“It can be daunting reporting such incidents to police and I hope that the new service will encourage even more victims to come forward to get the support and help they need.”

From 1st May, people affected by abuse can contact the service themselves or be referred in by an agency or the police. The new service also includes a support line which is available 24 hours a day – the telephone number is 0808 16 89 111

Any victim of crime can contact Victim Support on 0300 303 0157 (available Monday- Friday 8am-6pm)

Details of services are also available on http://www.cumbriatogether.com/

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