Anthony Stansfeld, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, has announced that charity Refuge has been awarded his three-year contract to support victims of sexual violence.
Refuge will deliver a local Independent Sexual Violence Advisory (ISVA) service, providing information and advocacy to victims of sexual violence across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.
The ISVA service will provide emotional and practical support tailored to individual needs to help victims to cope with, and recover from, the impact of a sexual crime.
It will be accessible to any victim of sexual abuse, male and female, who are aged 16 or over regardless of when or where the crime took place, or whether it had been reported to the police.
This includes victims of exploitation and victims of stalking with a perceived sexual motive.
Practical support offered by the ISVAs will include guidance through the criminal justice system, if needed, as well as access to agencies offering support in areas such as housing, immigration, welfare, benefits, education and physical well-being.
In addition to delivering the ISVA service, Refuge will work with existing services, both statutory and voluntary across the Thames Valley, to raise awareness of this service and increase access opportunities for victims.
The service has now launched and anyone wishing to access this support can contact Refuge by phone on 0800 221 8186 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commissioner Stansfeld said: “I am delighted to announce that Refuge will be delivering our new ISVA service.
“Refuge has a long and established history in supporting victims of sexual abuse and domestic abuse and I am looking forward to working with them in extending their expertise to deliver a consistent high quality, victim-led ISVA service to victims of sexual crime across the Thames Valley.
Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, said: “Refuge is proud to be launching a new service in Thames Valley, aimed at supporting women and men who have experienced rape and sexual assault.
“I am extremely grateful to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley for funding this service.
“This dedicated sexual violence service in Thames Valley will provide survivors with both the emotional support and the practical information they need to overcome what they have experienced, whilst taking essential steps to rebuild their lives.”