Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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PCC's office awarded 145 thousand pounds to help provide talking therapies for sexual assault victims for two years
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has been awarded funding from NHS England, amounting to £145,000 over two years, to provide talking therapies for victims of recent sexual offences and rape. 

The programme will offer a maximum of 12 sessions of talking therapy following a disclosure of sexual abuse, including child sexual abuse, to the Sexual Assault Referral Clinic. The therapy will help to improve victims’ emotional health, as well as promoting stabilisation, safety and recovery for male and female adults and children in the aftermath of a sexual offence whether or not the crime has been reported to police.

“I am absolutely delighted that my team has accessed funds for some of the most vulnerable victims of crime in our county - who have been referred to our delivery services, The Hope Programme for adults and EMBRACE Child Victims of Crime who are supporting children and young people, by the Sexual Assaults Referral Clinic after suffering from this type of attack or abuse.

“Getting access to talking therapy with a qualified, trained counsellor at precisely the time when the victim themselves considers it most useful to them can only be of enormous benefit and positively influence the quality of life that that victim goes on to experience in the short, medium and longer term future,” said Commissioner Holloway.

The work to identify the funding was undertaken by the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner’s Director of Victim Services, Bethan West, who works closely with victims and organisations across the county and could identify a real need for the service.

“This funding award is an excellent piece of collaborative work between the Bedfordshire PCC and NHS England. We hope it will lead to other partnership working and co-commissioning of services in the future. The two organisations delivering the services are experts in their field and we are confident they will provide the very best support for those that need it across Bedfordshire,” said Bethan West.

“It’s my task, together with my office team to fund support for victims to the best of my ability and I can assure the public that we track down every possible source of funding to do so, including this scheme with the NHS,” added the PCC.

Margaret Barker from Bedfordshire’s Victim Partnership and the Hope Programme said: “We are pleased to be part of this important innovative service. Each person copes with trauma in different ways, many still do not seek help.  Our early specialist counselling will enable them to begin to address the trauma and harm caused by the crimes and make choices for their personal recovery.  The direct link between us and the SARC will reduce the added distress of waiting times and connect people to other community help. 

Anne Campbell, CEO of Embrace said: “We are thrilled to be working in Bedfordshire and in partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner, the NHS and The Hope Programme. Our aim is to deliver a service that is tailored to young lives, is easy to access and truly makes a difference.  We know that talking about problems works.”

The programme will start running from August 2018 and will receive referrals directly from the Sexual Assault Referral Clinic (SARC) which can be contacted on 01234 897 504.