Back in September 2019 some women involved in our projects took part in a focus group held on behalf of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office. Our women were asked to share their experiences and insights into the support received after sexual violence and abuse so that the Police and Crime Commissioner could develop and improve victim support services in the future.
We asked women to respond individually to questionnaires, or join us in a small group where we talked through some of the issues women faced when seeking support following sexual violence and abuse. Linxs Consultancy (who organised the consultation process) and the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner have recently been back in touch to let us know that the report is now finished. They have expressed their gratitude to all the women for the time and emotional energy they put into this process and fully acknowledge and appreciate just how difficult this will have been for some. They would like to pass on their thanks for the valuable insights that women shared which will help shape services in the future.
A representative from the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner told us:
The Police and Crime Commissioner circulated the report to his Domestic and Sexual Abuse Board, and spoke about his own reaction to it at their meeting in mid-June. He welcomed it and talked about the importance of hearing the sometimes uncomfortable messages it contains for us all. Round the table were a number of key stakeholders from the Police, NHS, local authorities and victim services, including the voluntary sector. They warmly welcomed the report and the important issues it raises. The report is very timely. It arrives when the new, much improved Sexual Assault Referral Centre has just opened, and also when some additional funding is making further expansion of Independent Sexual Adviser Services (ISVA’s) possible. There is no room for complacency however, and the report helps set a direction for many improvements that are needed.
We at Women’s Health Matters would like to also personally thank all the women who took part in this consultation and to SARSVL who not only supported us in ensuring that our consultation group was safely held but also provided our women with support both within and beyond the group session. Women’s Health Matters are aware through our work that sexual violence and assault is a far more common experience than statistics show, we are here to support you, but please also see below for specific links to specific sexual violence and assault services.
To find out more about The Hazlehurst Sexual Assault Referral Centre click here.
For support around sexual violence and abuse please contact:
The SARC run a confidential helpline 01924 298954, open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. A trained worker will listen and offer support to anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. They can also provide information about other services and agencies in West Yorkshire.
- SARSVL (Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds)
SARSVL can be contacted on their helpline 0808 802 3344 or by text 078 600 22 880. The helpline is currently operating on reduced hours and is open Tuesdays 12-2pm and Wednesdays 12-2pm and 6-8pm. SARSVL offer a women-only safe space and provide specialist support for any women and girls in Leeds who have been affected by sexual violence of any kind at any time in their lives and need support.
- For anyone under 19 contact BASIS
BASIS can be contacted on 0113 243 0036, Monday to Wednesday from 9am to 5pm. Basis offer a one to one confidential support service for young people who have been sexually exploited or assaulted.