More than £3.2m of funding has been pledged to support victims of sexual violence over the next five years by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, working in partnership with NHS England and the region’s five local authorities.
Emily Spurrell has united with NHS England and Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral Councils to put together a package of funding to deliver a dedicated aftercare support service for all victims of rape and sexual assault.
The service, which is delivered as part of the Commissioner’s 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.
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 said, “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.”
RASASC’s Operations Director Julie Evans said, “We are delighted to be able to work once again in partnership with Merseyside RASA to deliver a seamless aftercare service across Merseyside.”
“Funding will enable us to continue offering counselling, Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and an Information Line to men, women and children from our different centres in Merseyside.”
“We are looking forward to continue working closing with the Police and Crime Commissioner and to be able to continue offering a service to survivors of sexual violence in Knowsley and St Helens.”
Cllr Helen Cameron, Chair of the Tourism, Communities, Culture and Leisure Committee for Wirral Council, said, “The importance of this service is reflected in the collective approach local authorities across Merseyside, alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner, have adopted in securing maximum funding for its provision.
“The re-appointment of the existing providers reflects the difference it is already making to survivors of these awful crimes across Wirral and the rest of Merseyside.”
RASA and RASASC have delivered the Commissioner’s aftercare support service as part of Victim Care Merseyside since 2015. They were re-selected following a competitive tendering process and a selection panel consisting of members of the PCC’s office and representatives from Merseyside Police and each of the partner agencies.
Bids were evaluated upon quality, cost, an interview process and references.
The RASA helpline is available at 0151 666 1392 or at [email protected]
The RASASC helpline is available at 0330 363 0063 or email [email protected]
If you’ve been affected by crime, for information and advice or to find an organisation to help, please visit www.victimcaremerseyside.org