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Funding Crisis Update

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Last week we had to make the heart-breaking decision to close the waiting list to the counselling service due to a severe lack of funding. We have been overwhelmed with the support and solidarity that you have shown, we understand that many people feel as passionately as we do about this. We wanted to give a bit more information and hopefully some ways you can help us.

The current waiting list has been growing substantially over the last few years and this has been exacerbated by Covid 19 restrictions.  Although we have explored funding opportunities and made numerous applications for funding, we have not secured enough funding to support all of the clients that request to use our service.  Adding additional clients onto our waiting list extends the time that each client is on the list, and we have reached the point where this waiting time is now at an unacceptable and unethical level.

Because of this we had to make the decision to close it until secure, sustainable funding is made available. To put this into context, and in the interests of transparency, to provide the level of meaningful support that we feel is necessary to the number of victims and survivors that are referred to us each year, the counselling service overall costs £924,000 annually. To clear the current waiting list which stands, on average, around 18 months for adults, will cost an additional £609,000.

The Police and Crime Commissioner has pledged an additional £100,000 and partners at Herefordshire Council have pledged £120,000 to help with the immediate crisis.  We remain hopeful that they, along with other local councils and agencies, will recognise the need for long term sustainable funding for survivors for future years – without this commitment, we are concerned that we will be in the same situation this time next year.

 

WAYS YOU CAN HELP

Findings in every recent (and historic) government commissioned report and review conclude, in one way or another, that all victims and survivors of sexual abuse and sexual violence should have access to specialist support. Despite this, sexual violence STILL does not form any part of any strategic governmental policy or document, other than with specific reference to child sexual exploitation. Please join us in lobbying local MPs, councils, health and government to change this. We have drafted a template letter that you can use as a basis for your letter, this can be downloaded here: Letter to MP template. Please note that letters that are simply copied and pasted don’t tend to get through, so please make sure to personalise yours as much as possible. Please visit https://www.writetothem.com/?a=westminstermp&pc= to send your email to your local councillor and /or MP. If you can’t find details for your local councillor please visit https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-councillors where you will be able to get to your local council site and see all the relevant contact details you’ll need to send a letter or email.

We understand that the amount we need to resolve this far exceeds individual giving, however, as many of you have asked for ways to give, if you would like to donate towards the cost of this, please click on the link: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/donation-web/charity?charityId=1000782&stop_mobi=yes

A petition to demand for statutory funding of sexual violence support services already exists on Change.org, please click on the link to sign: https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-survivors-of-sexual-violence-are-being-denied-support-tell-theresa-may-this-must-end-now-62f47463-2ee5-4960-a818-0d0a17894134

 

Thank you so much for your support.

Job Vacancy

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Family Independent Sexual Violence Advocate

WMRSASC have a vacancy for a Family Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (FISVA).  The post is based in Worcestershire however the successful applicant may need to support clients across both Herefordshire and Worcestershire and must be able to travel across both counties. For more information and details of how to apply please follow this link.

Changes to helpline hours

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As of 15th July 2019 WMRSASC’s helpline opening hours are changing slightly.

Previously the opening hours on Mondays and Thursdays was 7.30pm till 9.30pm. THIS HAS NOW CHANGED to 6.00pm till 8.00pm for both days. Hours for Tuesdays (1.00pm – 5.00pm) and Fridays (10.00am till 2.00pm) are staying the same.

We hope this change does not cause too much confusion and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Rape and sexual abuse support centre launches counselling service for men and children

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Worcester News – Wednesday 7th October 2015

MEN are being encouraged to speak out about their experience with rape and sexual abuse in Worcestershire.

On Monday, West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (WMRSASC) launched its counselling service for men and children aged 11 and above.

The service formed in 1986 to offer support to female survivors of rape and sexual violence, but since 2013 the service started supporting men and children as well as women through the criminal justice process with their Independent Sexual Violence Advisors.

But following successful fundraising and securing funds from the Home Office and Lloyds Bank, WMRSASC can now offer free counselling to men and children.

The charity’s chief executive officer, Jocelyn Anderson, said it had been a dream of the charity for a number of years.

“It hasn’t been that we don’t want to offer the service to men and children, it’s purely that we haven’t had the money to do it. We believe that all survivors regardless of gender, age, race, religion or anything else deserve support.”

The launch took place at the Bank House hotel in Bransford, and around 100 people gathered to hear about the service and from speakers.

Supporters heard how one in 20 children in the UK are sexually abused, and one in eight men around the country will experience a sexual assault in their lifetime.

Geese Theatre Company portrayed the true story of one service user, who had been abused by his step-father for many years, before counselling helped him start to move on.

Duncan Craig, the chief executive of Survivors Manchester, gave a talk on his work with male survivors and about his own experience of sexual abuse and rape.

The conference also heard from Dianne Whitfield, co-chairman of Rape Crisis England and Wales.

She said: “I am so pleased to hear about the launch of the new service. To keep a service like this going at all in the current economic climate is not easy and needs support.”

To enquire about counselling, call 01905 724514 or email counselling@wmrsasc.org.uk.

Our service expands to support men and children

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We are so pleased to announce that our services are now fully expanded and available to men and children aged 11 years and over.

Previously we have been unable offer services to men and to women under 16 years due to funding restraints, however thanks to a pot of funding from the Home Office we are now able to launch our male and children and young people’s services.

This is something that we have been trying to achieve for some time, in April 2013 we were lucky to be successful in funding applications to the local PCC and Children in Need which enabled us to expand our ISVA service to men and children aged 11 years and over. We have been very eager to expand our counselling and helpline services to provide a comparable level of support and are extremely happy that this has now happened.

For further information or support please call our helpline on 01905 724514 (Worcestershire) or 01432 344777 (Herefordshire) or email counselling@wmrsasc.org.uk.

Services for women will continue to be provided in a female only setting in order to ensure all clients feel safe and secure when they come to visit us.

Opening of the Herefordshire Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre

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The doors to the Herefordshire Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre were officially opened on the 17th November 2011 at a launch event held at Hereford City Town Hall.

Chief Officer Jocelyn Anderson welcomed everyone to the event and introduced guest speakers Det. Supt. Ivan Powell (West Mercia Police), Val Lunn (National Development Officer, Rape Crisis England & Wales), Dr Ruth Jones (Senior Lecturer, Researcher & Consultant, University of Worcester) and Nick Ross (Policy Advisor, Victim & Witness Unit, Criminal Justice Services Directorate).

Our thanks go to our many partnership agencies for helping to make the event such a success.

DS Ivan Powell, Jocelyn Anderson, Mayor Cllr Julie Woodward, Lord Lieutenant Lady Darnley & Cllr Olwyn Barnett

Drinking Is Not A Crime Campaign

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This is our campaign which ran throughout Worcestershire and Herefordshire, you may have seen it on the side of a bus, in the Vue Cinema or in a pub or club. Thanks to Rape Crisis Scotland for the original artwork, to Tim Corbyn for redesigning it for us free of charge for Worcestershire and to Sharon Amery for redesigning the Herefordshire version.