Spotlight on support for victims during Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week
09 February 2024
The Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones, has reaffirmed to victims that they don’t have to report to get support from the range of commissioned services that she funds.
The news comes during Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, a national week of action from 5-11 February 2024 that brings organisations and communities together to highlight the support available and to raise awareness.
PCC Donna Jones said: “This week is about highlighting the cause, making sure that victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence know that they’re not alone.
“Reporting a crime to the police and pursuing a criminal justice outcome isn’t the right course of action for all victims. Some victims decide getting the support they need is the first or only step needed when they’re feeling at their most vulnerable.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner has invested millions of pounds of funding for a range of support services aimed at supporting victims of sexual violence and abuse across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It includes nearly £4.8M over a five and a half year period for the combined Frankie Worker Service and an all-age Sexual Crime Therapeutic Service.
The Frankie Worker Service involves one-to-one therapeutic counselling and play therapy support to children and young people aged 0-18 years who are victims of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or female genital mutilation. The all-age Sexual Crime Therapeutic Service provides a telephone helpline, therapeutic support and activities to help adults, children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse, assault and rape at any time in their lives.
The PCC has ring fenced another £500K to bring down waiting lists, particularly for children and young people across the two counties who are waiting to access support services.
PCC Donna Jones added: “I’m committed to providing help that is transformative and life-changing. That’s why I’m also investing more funding to tackle waiting lists, particularly among U18s. No child should have to wait for expert support. I am committed to ensuring people living across our communities have access to the very best victim support in the country.”
The Police Commissioner also provides funding for Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) to guide victims and their families through the criminal justice system and ensure people get the counselling needed.
The PCC said: “Reducing sexual violence and sexual abuse starts with a culture change. Attitudes towards women and girls especially, must change if we are to reduce crimes of a sexual nature, harassment and rape.
“It is right that we should be calling out, challenging and advocating for all victims of sexual harassment, abuse and violence because if left unchecked and unchallenged, this behaviour often becomes normalised especially with young people.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner set up a multi-agency board to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in October 2021. Its aim is improving the operational response and support given to victims of these crimes while also focusing on stopping it from happening in the first place through prevention work and disrupting perpetrators.
Other support services provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner include support for victims of domestic abuse, stalking, and the Restorative Justice service which empowers victims to hold their offenders to account. Victims do not need to report to the police to access this support.
More information can be found on the PCC’s website at Victim and Witness Support – Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner (hampshire-pcc.gov.uk)