Charities supporting victims of sexual offences in Warwickshire are to benefit from extra funding to support a critical part of their work, Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe has confirmed.
A bid for funding to the Ministry of Justice has been accepted in full, meaning four additional Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) will be employed within the county to help meet an expected upsurge in demand from victims as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown period.
The Commissioner’s office put in bids on behalf of local charities RoSA (Rape or Sexual Abuse Support) and Safeline when the Ministry of Justice announced a £3 million national fund earlier this year. The successful award of more than £240,000 means that the charities will be able to each employ two additional ISVAs across Warwickshire. The funding covers the remainder of 2020/21 and 2021/22.
ISVAs work with people who have experienced sexual violence to get them access to the services they need. They provide impartial advice on all the options available such as reporting to police, the criminal justice process, accessing sexual assault referral centres (SARCs), seeking support from specialist sexual violence organisations and other services such as housing or benefits.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “I am grateful to the Ministry of Justice for funding our submission in full. We have gained around eight percent of the funding available nationally, which is a considerable proportion for a county of our size and reflects the high quality of the submission we made on RoSA and Safeline’s behalf.
“It comes at a critical time with lockdown restrictions easing, allowing more victims better opportunity to seek help and support. Some will have spent the lockdown period living with the offenders and it is widely expected that there will be an increase of reports to the police and to charities like RoSA and Safeline over the coming months.
“This increase in ISVA provision will mean that the excellent support that is given to survivors of sexual abuse across Warwickshire will be enhanced even further.”
Julie Bettelley, CEO of RoSA said: “We are delighted that the Commissioner’s Office has been able to secure extra funding to support our ISVA service. This means we will be able to invest more time in communicating our service throughout Warwickshire, supporting men, women, young people and children who have experienced sexual violence, to access the services they may need. In addition, we can work with other agencies supporting those who are underrepresented in accessing and seeking support from sexual violence agencies , including BAME survivors, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. This funding also means we can better embrace new ways of socially distanced working, supporting people who are isolated through the use of appropriate technology.”
Neil Henderson, CEO of Safeline, said: “The Police and Crime Commissioner and his team have done a magnificent job of securing additional funding for increased ISVA resource in the county. Every victim/survivor of sexual violence should be able to access a high-quality, well-managed ISVA service and this funding will enable us to deliver that.”
For more information about the work of ISVAs or for free and confidential help and support, visit: