Help is at hand for rape victims

SPECIALIST support for victims of rape and sexual violence will be offered in Northumberland with an £80,000 Government grant.

The money has been awarded to the Grace Project, which is part of the Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre, to provide counselling, a helpline and training for volunteers.

The project was set up as a three-year pilot in 2009 to fill a gap in service provision, as victims of sexual violence in Northumberland previously had to travel up to 50 miles to access support.

The new funding has been granted through the Ministry of Justice’s New and Emerging Fund.

It will help to provide rape counselling sessions in six outreach bases, including Morpeth and Ponteland, helpline support on a Freephone number three evenings a week, telephone support to family and friends, a signposting service for people who do not meet the project’s criteria, a website, formal training workshops for organisations and agencies and volunteering opportunities, including a special training programme for the helpline service.

The project will be run by women and work with women aged 16 and over who have experienced sexual abuse at any time in their lives.

Development worker Sarah Rogerson said: “Grace Northumberland Sexual Violence Project is thrilled to have the support of the Ministry of Justice after providing a pilot project in Northumberland.

“The funding will allow the vital work already undertaken to continue and develop further. It will ensure that women survivors in Northumberland will receive a much-needed service that is accessible and designed with their needs at the forefront of the work we do.”

For more information visit www.tynesidercc.org.uk/grace.htm