Support for victims of sexual violence across North Yorkshire has been bolstered by £150,000 from the home office.
The funding to the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner's office will now be directed towards supporting the Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS), a charity who provide assistance for victims of sexual violence in the county.
It is hoped the funding will help the service expand its support to more specific cases, including male victims and adults with learning disabilities.
A spokesman from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire said: “We are really pleased to receive this vital funding that will go towards supporting victims of sexual violence. The funding will be used to improve the overall experience of victims and survivors of all forms of sexual violence accessing support services.
“ISVAs support any victim or survivor of all forms of sexual violence, including non-recent cases and regardless of gender. The services are available to both those victims going through a criminal investigation or trial and those not involved with the police. ISVAs provide one-to-one support and complete a Risk and Need Assessment to develop a bespoke Support and Safety Plan for every client to ensure that their individual needs are met either by this service or by referring on to a more appropriate service.
“We are now looking to provide dedicated support through specially trained ISVAs to work with those with more specific needs including male victims, those with mental health needs, young people (aged 13yrs+), and adults with learning disabilities and/or difficulties.
“It is anticipated that this specialist provision alongside immediate improvements to the current services will increase the numbers of people reporting incidents and accessing support at an earlier stage, and ensuring victims, survivors and their families can access the right support at the right time.”
Service user data indicates the funds will help more than 250 people with specific needs who approach the charity for support, while referrals made to IDAS increased by 322 between 2016 and 2017.
Among the victims and survivors of sexual violence or abuse who were supported by the charity during the same 12-month period it was found that 102 had a physical, learning and or mental health disability.
The charity is currently the provider of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) across North Yorkshire, as a result of a joint commissioning process between the Police and Crime Commissioner, North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire County Council.
There are currently four full time equivalent ISVAs operating across North Yorkshire and York, with plans to employ three more.