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29 November 2016, 06:07
A new central phone line and online portal is now available to victims and survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse from across Essex.
The new service will help victims and survivors to access the specialist Rape Crisis services they need, when they need them.
From today, by phoning 03000 037 777, victims, survivors and professionals from across Essex will be able to talk to one of an Essex-wide team of First Contact Navigators. The team, who are all specially trained to work with victims of sexual violence and child sexual abuse, will guide callers to the services they need in their local area, helping them to access the right support, at the right time.
Alongside the phone line, an online portal www.synergyessex.org.uk will enable victims, survivors and professionals to find out what support is available in their area and to contact the appropriate service-providers through a simple online referral form.
The new single point of contact has been developed by Essex Rape Crisis Partnership (ERCP) - made up of South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre (SERICC), Southend-on-Sea Rape Crisis (SOS Rape Crisis) and CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse), which covers mid and north Essex. The Essex-wide team of First Contact Navigators and the central phone line has been made possible thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund's Women and Girl's Initiative. Funding for the online portal has been provided by the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner.
Lee Eggleston, Operations Manager at SERICC, who has overseen the development of the new service said "We are really excited to be offering a single point of contact for victims and survivors. Being able to access services so easily will give many more victims and survivors of sexual violence the confidence to come forward and seek the support they need. Essex Rape Crisis Partnership currently provides services to over 2000 adults, young people and children from across Essex, but we know there are many more women and girls, as well as men and boys who need support."
Last year in Essex, an estimated 22,650 women and 3,469 men experienced some form of sexual violence . Essex Rape Crisis Partnership provides a wide range of services for victims and survivors. These include ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Adviser) support through the criminal justice process, one-to-one counselling, therapeutic support for young people (aged 13-18), play therapy for children aged 12 and under, and support for their families.
The launch of the new central number and online portal is timed to tie into the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, which runs from 25th November - 10th December.