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Commissioner’s sexual violence support project receives national attention

1 February, 2019

A project funded by Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner garnered national attention at an event organised by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners in London yesterday.

The project, which places specialist support workers in hospitals to support victims of sexual violence and rape, has been selected as an example of best practice for using funding from the Home Office’s Violence Against Women and Girls Fund.

The Commissioner’s Office first set out its vision for the project and applied for funding in 2017, securing £300,000 for Lancashire in conjunction with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The money is being used as part of a 3 year project aiming to transform the care sexual violence victims receive when they get medical attention at hospitals.

The first phase of the project placed a service co-ordinator at Blackpool Hospitals to establish the service, train doctors, nurses and staff, make links with partners and create referral routes.

The service co-ordinator is also a fully trained Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) and supports victims through the hospital journey, in reporting to the police if they wish to do so and to access further emotional and practical support to move forward.

Clive Grunshaw, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire said: “Supporting vulnerable people and victims is a key priority for me. Victims of rape and sexual assault need specialist support and making this available in hospitals where they may first talk about what has happened to them is a great step.

“I am pleased that we have succeeded in securing Home Office funding for this project and I strongly believe that it can make a real difference to victims of sexual violence here in Lancashire.

“The project is firmly linked in with Lancashire Victim Services to provide additional support to anyone affected. Support is available across Lancashire and I would urge anyone who has experienced sexual violence, whether recently or in the past, to contact the service.”

Lisa Lonsdale, Named Nurse Safeguarding Children and Adults, at Blackpool Hospitals, said: “Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is very pleased to be part of this inspiring project to lead the development of service provision for victims of sexual violence in health settings across Lancashire.

“The Health Independent Sexual Advisor (ISVA) Co-ordinator sits within the Safeguarding Team at BTHFT and has been pivotal in raising awareness across the health economy.

“Feedback from patients has all been very positive. BTHNHSFT are in a unique position to also have a Health independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA)  within the Safeguarding Team so both can provide bespoke support to victims of Domestic and/or sexual abuse.”

Phase two and three of the project will see Health Setting Sexual Violence Liaison Officers appointed to East Lancashire Hospitals and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, working under the service co-ordinator’s guidance to replicate the work done in Blackpool.

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