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PCC Vera Baird helps fund invaluable support for city’s survivors of sexual assault

26th July 2016

Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland emotional support service for sexual assault victims makes ‘significant positive impact’

As part of its extended service offering, which now provides counselling and support to women and girls from 13 years old (previously 16 years old) Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland today announces it will continue to deliver Practical and Emotional Support alongside its face-to-face counselling, telephone helpline and email support services, with funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC.

Practical and Emotional Support has been offered to victims for the past year and aims to offer day-to-day assistance outside of counselling with the myriad of challenges women face after a sexual assault.

“Whether it was thirty years ago or three weeks ago, each survivor has different needs at different points in their healing,” said Sue Pearce, co-CEO of the Newcastle-based charity, “our purpose is to provide a range of services that help meet these needs and adequately support all women.”

After trialling the service last year, the charity’s own research now shows that Practical and Emotional Support offers a necessary support mechanism for women already using the service. The Practical and Emotional Support system has supported 83 women over the last year with resoundingly positive outcomes, such as:

  • 93% of women report an improvement in their overall health and well-being, seeing significant decreases in the percentage of women relying on alcohol, prescription drugs or engaging in self-harm following the support provided by RCTN
  • Supporting 48 women to better integrate back into work or education after a sexual assault, in which all women saw improvements in their ability to integrate back into work, education and social environments following the support provided by RCTN
  • Helping women to navigate the Criminal Justice System, in which 100% of women who were involved in the CJS following their assault reported an improved experience following the support provided by RCTN

“We’re very pleased that the first year of the service has demonstrated such valuable outcomes for the women we support and are hugely grateful to Vera Baird for enabling us to make the Emotional and Practical Support a permanent fixture for all women accessing Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland services,” commented Sue Pearce.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, said: “I am delighted to be helping Rape Crisis with this funding which will ensure essential services, proven to meet the needs of vulnerable victims, are able to continue.

“It means much needed support will be available to those who have survived such traumatic experiences, helping them to cope, recover and move on with their lives.”

This now takes the support services provided by the charity to six distinct areas, from which survivors accessing Rape Crisis support can choose from to support their own, individual needs.

  • Practical: Helping with housing, financial, employment issues, accessing healthcare
  • Advocacy: Dealing with the criminal justice system, social services etc.
  • Emotional: Supporting to attend appointments, giving reassurance and encouragement
  • Therapeutic: Working through what has happened with a qualified counsellor who has specific training to work with survivors of sexual violence
  • Group Work: Develop positive coping strategies and increase support network in facilitated group sessions
  • Helpline & Email Support: A space to be heard, access emotional support and information

Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland would encourage any women or girls who have experienced sexual violence to call their free of charge helpline:

Helpline: 0800 035 2794, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (6pm-8.30pm), Friday (11.00am-2.30pm)