24/7 support for victims
Over the past month, I have shared a number of different services available in Dorset to support those who have experienced sexual violence and abuse. I chose to do this as I understand how vital it is for victims to have tailored support that suits their needs, and I hoped by handing over my platform I could raise awareness of the support available to victims across Dorset.
So, this week, I’d like to share one last service with you. At the end of last year, the Ministry of Justice launched the first-ever 24/7 Support Line for victims of rape and sexual abuse. The service is available to anyone aged 16+ in England and Wales, who has been affected by rape, child sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment or any other form of sexual violence – at any point in their life. This includes people who have experienced sexual violence or abuse themselves, as well as their friends, family or anyone else who is trying to support them.
Through the helpline, specialist operators will be available via telephone or web chat at any time to provide victims with vital information and emotional support. This includes signposting to local, longer-term services such as those I have mentioned through newsletters over the past weeks including counselling and access to Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA).
The new service will ensure that victims have access to the support and advice they need whenever they need it. Additionally, research shows that victims who speak to an ISVA are 49% less likely to withdraw from the criminal justice process. This means that the more support a survivor receives, the more likely it is their attacker will be brought to justice.
I am pleased to see the implementation of the helpline as it shows the government starting to deliver on a key pledge in their Rape Review Action Plan which seeks to boost support for victims, improve confidence in the system and increase the number of cases reaching court.
I am committed to creating an environment in which all residents and visitors to Dorset feel safe from violence, intimidation and harassment. This can only be done by influencing and supporting change within communities, partners, and policing. Services like this helpline are a step in the right direction to ensuring that no one has to go through the trauma of such horrible crimes without the right support.
You can find out more about the helpline in the video below or visit
To access the helpline, call 0808 500 2222 or visit www.247sexualabusesupport.org.uk