Millions pledged to help Merseyside victims of rape and sexual violence

Victims will have access to specialist counselling services and advocates to guide and support them through the criminal justice system.

Merseyside’s police commissioner has pledged more than £3.2 million of funding to support victims of sexual violence over the next five years.

Emily Spurrell will be working alongside local authorities and NHS England to fund aftercare support services for all victims of rape and sexual violence.

Sign up to our LiverpoolWorld Today newsletter

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.

How will the service work?

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 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, who support and guide survivors through the criminal justice system.

What’s been said?

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.”

Emily Spurrell, Merseyside PCC

RASA Merseyside’s finance and strategic development manager, Josephine Wood, 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.”

Councillor Sarah Doyle, Liverpool’s assistant mayor with responsibility for tackling violence against women and girls said: “This long-term funding gives organisations the certainty they need to provide support for sexual violence survivors and encourage those affected to come forward.

“It forms part of Liverpool’s three-year strategy to tackle violence against women and girls, and our ambition to end gender-based violence.”

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]