New support hub unveiled as Nottinghamshire marks Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week

A pioneering support hub which delivers the specialist help survivors of sexual violence have long been calling for has been officially unveiled as part of a national awareness week.

The new Adult Sexual Violence Hub and Specialist Therapy Support Service, which has been called “Asa” by survivors and stakeholders – a unisex name with multicultural roots and several meanings including healer, goddess, morning and hope – has been officially launched during Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2021.

The new resource, which has been commissioned by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping in conjunction with a host of partners including Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council, opened its virtual doors on January 2 and is the result of months of extensive discussions, meetings and research with survivors of sexual violence.

It has been designed to improve the future care and emotional recovery of adult victims of sexual abuse and violence in the way survivors have asked for over many years.

The new hub, which is being delivered by Nottinghamshire Sexual Violence Support Services (Notts SVS Services), will provide a wealth of services including therapeutic support, counselling and mental health intervention.

Specialist support will be available for all adult victims of sexual violence in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire including men, women, members of the LGBT+ community and those from a BAME background. Costing almost £950,000 a year to run, the hub is being jointly-funded by the PCC, local authorities and clinical commissioning groups and aims to connect survivors to a broad range of support services including one-to-one and group counselling, psychotherapy and other specialist treatment as well as information, advice and access to other services.

“This is a service designed by survivors for survivors and has involved a great deal of thought, understanding and research to get right,” said Mr Tipping.

“We are extremely proud of the new model and the specialist recovery paths it offers. Victims of sexual violence deserve the very best support available and we believe our new services will make a huge difference to the welfare and mental health of survivors in the future. What’s more, we will continue to seek their feedback and insight moving forward to ensure we continue to meet their needs.

“While Covid-19 continues to present its challenges, our support services are well-equipped to run virtually and the new hub is ready and prepared to deliver help to whoever needs it during these difficult times.”

Mandy Coupland, co-founder of Nottingham Child Sexual Abuse Survivors Group, said: “I would like to thank the commissioners for involving us in shaping the new sexual violence hub. Survivors in Nottinghamshire will finally get a specialist support service tailored to their needs.”

The City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adults, Cllr Adele Williams, said: “The city is proud to be part of this collective approach to putting survivors at the heart of developing this much-needed service. The new service is a ground-breaking approach by Nottingham and Nottinghamshire partners alongside survivors to deliver an excellent service which we think will change lives for the better.”

Novlet Holness, Chief Executive of Notts SVS Services, said: “Notts SVS Services is delighted to be delivering the Asa hub in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. We are very fortunate to have commissioners that listen to the thoughts, feelings and ideas of survivors and who have the confidence in support services such as ours to implement what is needed. This long-term funding will reassure survivors and enable them to access support at a time that is right for them.

“We have been supporting survivors for nearly 40 years and are excited to put in place all the new features of this service, including access to new therapies and longer opening hours. The Asa service has been designed with survivors at its heart and will continue to grow through their ongoing input, ensuring survivor needs are met both now and in the future.”

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week runs from February 1 to 7 and aims to shine a spotlight on the traumatic experiences of victims and survivors and the support available to help their recovery.

The new hub will increase partnership working around sexual violence and abuse to address the barriers faced by survivors and raise awareness of the issues.

Although support will be provided to survivors aged 18 and over, the model has been built with some flexibility to support 16 and 17-year-olds in the adult service if appropriate. There is also scope to expand the service in the future should further national funding become available.

Asa opened on January 2 and support can be accessed via its helpline on 0115 941 0440. Opening hours are between 10am and 1pm and 4.30pm and 7.30pm Monday to Friday and between 10am and 1pm on Saturday and Sundays.

For more information visit: https://nottssvss.org.uk/

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