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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucestershire wins funding for sexual violence advisers

Gloucestershire has two new independent sexual violence advisers supporting victims following concern too few rape and serious sexual offences were reaching court.

The county was one of only 15 places across the country to be awarded funding for the roles for two year, securing £128,588 after the Ministry of Justice asked the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to bid for funding.

The advisers provide practical support to the survivors of rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault.

They assist victims and survivors before, during and after court appearances, acting as a single point of contact, providing emotional support and impartial information.

Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre director Maggie Stewart said: "The independent sexual advisers play a crucial role in supporting victims who are going through the court process or are thinking of doing so.

"We welcome this funding that has enabled us to employ additional members of staff who can provide advocacy and guidance to women, men and children that are affected by sexual violence.

"The two year funding will enable stability of provision during a very difficult period for our clients."

The Ministry of Justice made £1million available in September to fund ISVA roles across the country, tying in with a review of the Criminal Justice System's response to serious sexual violence and adult rape.

The OPCC commissioning manager Kirsten Fruin said: "We're absolutely delighted to have secured this funding for two new Independent Sexual Violence Advisers in Gloucestershire.

"We worked alongside GRASAC and Gloucestershire Constabulary's domestic abuse and sexual violence lead, to ensure our bid really outlined what a huge difference this would make in Gloucestershire."

The two ISVAs have been in position since May 1.

Gloucestershire's Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said: "I'm pleased the Ministry of Justice has acknowledged the critical role ISVAs play in ensuring victims feed informed, supported and engaged as their case goes through the criminal justice system.

"Being one of only 15 places in the country to receive this funding is credit to the hard-working commissioning team in my office, which constantly strives to improve victim services in Gloucestershire."

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