Huge increase in demand for sexual abuse support services prompts funding increase
PUBLISHED: 10:05 24 January 2018
Office of Norfolk PCC
A charity offering support to victims of sexual abuse is to receive a big funding boost from Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Lorne Green, the county’s PCC, has pledged to double the financial support he offers to the Sue Lambert Trust in response to increasing demands for its services in the past five years.
The charity, which has bases in Great Yarmouth and Norwich, offers counselling, practical and emotional support to men, women and young people who have been victim of sexual abuse, rape and assault.
In recent years, it is seen a significant surge in demand for its services, with 7,600 support sessions forecast to have been carried out in 2017/18 - compared with 1,384 in 2011/12.
In the 2016/17 financial year, it received a grant of £75,000 from the PCC, however for 2017/18, this figure will more than double, with a total of £155,000 pledged to reflect this increase in demand.
Mr Green said: “Alongside an unprecedented increase in reports to police of recent and historic abuse, demand for sexual abuse survivor support services has increased exponentially in recent years.
“As the only Norfolk-based provider of specialist comprehensive support for survivors, the Sue Lambert Trust’s services have been placed under great pressure as they have worked to cope with increasing calls for support.”
Mette Ohrvik, Sue Lambert Trust chief executive said: “The last six years have been very challenging for us as the increasing demand for our services has put massive pressure on our resources.
“However, now that we have received significant funding from the PCC, we are able to plan for the future with confidence, and able to do more than ever before to help our clients.”
On top of the £75,000 grant, the PCC provided an additional £23,000 to allow more volunteer counsellors to be recruited in 2016/17, meaning a total of £98,000 was allocated - £57.000 less than 2017/18’s amount.
Mr Green added: “The crimes these people have experienced are heinous and, having taking that monumental step to seek help and support, we owe it to them to ensure the specialist services they need are available to them.”
‘How Trust has helped me’
A victim of sexual abuse who has been receiving support from the charity has opened up about the help it has given her.
Hazel, who was sexually abused as a teenager, has been benefiting from the Trust for two years.
She said: “When I first started t, I was going through the motions of surviving.
“What I had experienced was ‘normal’ for me - it was all I knew.
“I’m only now beginning to think ‘that’s not right’ and know it’s not my fault - that I deserve respect and I can put up boundaries.
“Coming here, it’s regular, you get to see the same person and to talk without being pushed or judged.
“When I came here I didn’t trust anyone, but I trust in Carol - my counsellor. Without her, I don’t know where I’d be.
“I’m a much stronger person than when I first came here”