Extra funding to support victims of sexual crime secured by Hertfordshire's PCC

The money will provide additional support for male victims and those who are sexually exploited

By Holly Patel
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 12:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 1:00 pm

Funding for two extra workers to support victims of sexual crimes in Hertfordshire has been secured from the Ministry of Justice.

The successful bid by the office of the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd will provide additional support for male victims and those who are sexually exploited.

A total of £117,250 has been secured by the Commissioner to support this project until March 2022.

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Extra funding to support victims of sexual crime secured by Hertfordshire's PCC

Mr Lloyd said: “It is important that victims of rape or sexual assault feel free and comfortable to report what has happened to them.

"We have identified that male victims and those who are being groomed or exploited are particularly reluctant to reach out for help.

“This grant we have secured will pay for two new Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) who can offer practical and emotional support to victims, regardless of whether they have contacted the police.

“Often with the support of this service, those effected find the strength to engage with the criminal justice process and help to convict offenders who otherwise may have escaped prosecution.”

Applications for the two new Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (IDVAS) will soon be open to individuals and organisations.

Currently there are five other ISVAs who are based in Hemel Hempstead, and cover the whole county.

They are based at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Hemel, where sexual assault victims are provided with forensic and supportive services.

Two of the ISVAs support adult victims, two work with young persons aged between 15 and 20 years and there is a specialist ISVA for children.

The ISVAs provide support for anyone who has suffered any unwanted sexual experience, by providing information and advice. This can be before, during and after any court proceedings.

The Commissioner’s office made the bid for the two new workers after they found less than six per cent of referrals to the SARC relate to men, while national data suggests that of all adult victims of sexual violence 16 per cent are male.

Some of the funding therefore, is going to be used to hire a male ISVA.

The SARC is currently the only specialist sexual violence service in Hertfordshire that supports male victims and survivors, but it does not currently have a male ISVA and it is thought that this might feel like a barrier to accessibility.

Hertfordshire has also seen a rise in those that been sexually exploited through modern slavery and human trafficking. This includes those who have been forced in to prostitution.

The second new worker is going to be responsible for working with this group, who are traditionally less likely to seek help.

Any organisations interested in this opportunity should contact Jenna Skinner, Programme Manager at the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office on [email protected]