Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall is continuing his funding of therapeutic services for survivors of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and sexual assault, within the services offered by The Bridgeway in Cumbria.
The service is available across the county for children, young people and adults, of all genders. Survivors meet with specially trained therapists and support staff who use a trauma informed approach to support people to understand and deal with the impact of the sexual assault or abuse. The service has seen an increase in referrals of 107% in the last two years with the number of men coming forward for support rising.
Therapeutic services also offers support for people whose case is going through the criminal justice system – known as pre-trial therapy. This allows survivors to access a form of therapy to deal with the impact of the abuse or assault whilst they are waiting for their case to go to court.
Mr McCall comments: “It is well known that an increasing number of people are prepared to come forward and report sexual abuse and assault, horrific crimes which can have a deep affect both physically and mentally, we are also noticing a rise in the number of children affected.
“It is therefore essential that we offer appropriate support and therapy to victims to help them to recover and also through the justice process.”
Lesley Storey, Chief Officer SafetyNet UK comments: “We are proud to have been awarded this contract and to be working with our partners in The Bridgeway to deliver the highest standard of support to victims of rape and sexual assault.
“We want all victims to be able to access support to assist them to recover from the trauma of abuse, this should be a basic human right.
“Our counselling is gentle . We fully understand that it can be both painful and frightening to be asked to form a trusting relationship with anyone following abuse. We take things slowly and gently and we do everything we can to support you through the process.
“Our services are rooted in respect, honesty and empathy without judgement. We believe you are not to blame for the abuse and trauma you have experienced.”
Detective Chief Inspector Dan StQuintin said: ‘The therapeutic support services that are funded by the PCC are invaluable in keeping vulnerable people safe in Cumbria. Not only do these services support victims of serious crime, they support professionals from agencies in Cumbria to provide the best all round service they can to the people who need it most.
“Therapeutic services in Cumbria focus on the needs of those who use them and have really increased Cumbria Constabulary’s success in preventing harm, reducing reoffending and bringing offenders to justice. They have also ensured that the multi-agency partnerships in Cumbria have effective local options to refer people into when they need help.’
If you would like further information or would like to talk to someone, please call the Bridgeway on the 24/7 free self-referral helpline on 0808 118 6432.