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Funding pledged to support survivors of sexual violence in Merseyside

More than £3.2m has been pledged to support victims of sexual violence over the next five years by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, working in partnership with the NHS and local councils.

The service, which is being delivered as part of the Victim Care Merseyside service, is available to anyone affected by sexual violence, no matter when the incident happened or whether it was reported to the police or not.

It will be delivered by RASA Merseyside and the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Merseyside and Cheshire.

The two charities will share £649,500 a year from April 2022 to March 2027 to deliver the pan-Merseyside service, with RASA providing support to victims in Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral and RASASC delivering the service in Knowsley and St Helens.

Both services offer an information and reporting phone line, specialist counselling services and dedicated Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) who support and guide survivors through the criminal justice system.

a woman rests her head on another person's shoulder

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: ‘Ensuring victims of crime get the support they need to recover from the trauma they have suffered is one of my absolute priorities as Police Commissioner. When survivors of rape and sexual violence have the courage to speak out about their experiences and seek support they deserve the very best possible care.

‘I’m delighted that working with NHS England and all five of Merseyside local authorities we have been able to put together this long-term funding package which will enable RASA and RASASC to continue their crucial work offering sustainable, specialist support to anyone who has been subjected to these traumatic and devastating crimes over the next five years.’

RASA Merseyside’s Finance & Strategic Development Manager Josephine Wood MBE commented: ‘We are delighted to be recommissioned to deliver our specialist service for survivors of sexual violence across Merseyside. Month on month, the need for our services grows and we look forward to a long period of stability to enable us to develop further services to give victims and survivors the support they need and deserve after such abuse.’

In related news, the London Councils Grants Committee has agreed £24m in funding for a four-year programme to tackle homelessness and domestic and sexual abuse across London.

Photo by Külli Kittus

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