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Free counselling for 400 young victims of crime

More than 400 young victims of sexual violence in Cambridgeshire have benefited from free counselling thanks to a unique partnership between Embrace Child Victims of Crime and local services.

The counselling service, called Time4U, helps children recover from trauma and prevent long-term harm.

Embrace has been able to extend its services in Cambridgeshire to offer equine assisted therapy and free counselling for parents.

The service is provided by a number of organisations including Youth Offending Service and NHS England, and the therapy provides free, tailored counselling for young people aged between 13 and 19 (or 24 with additional needs) affected by sexual violence.

Launched in April 2017, the support service was commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner through a shared budget arrangement with NHS England, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council and funding from the Home Office.

Embrace Child Victims of Crime was commissioned to deliver the service locally, which also helps young people who use violence and abuse as a result of being themselves traumatised or victims of other types of abuse.

Ongoing support is also available for young survivors of sexual violence through an Independent Sexual Violence Advocacy (ISVA) service provided by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership (CAPRCP).

Anne Campbell, Chief Executive said: “Time4U allows us to provide wrap around care to those supported through the programme. Working in partnership allows us to be creative and innovative. From providing equine therapy to help build confidence in young victims, to using trainee therapists to provide free counselling therapy for parents which helps heal the whole family, I am pleased to see so many young people supported.”

One person supported by Embrace is Jane, who lives in north Cambridgeshire and has two daughters aged 16 and 19.

Jane’s youngest daughter was the subject of a serious sexual assault which was not reported to police. This led to her feeling powerless, angry and afraid. Her eldest daughter too was impacted by the crime, feeling that she had been unable to protect her sister. Through the Sexual Assault Referral Centre, and Time4U, both girls were referred to Embrace and placed with separate specialist counsellors.

They received counselling over a number of weeks and, as a direct result, both now report feeling in control, more self-aware, and able to move on from what has happened.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite said: “Reaching so many vulnerable children and young people in just one year shows just how innovative this partnership approach has been. I often talk about how important it is to work together to prevent situations from escalating out of control.

“This project is a great example where we can make sure the right support is provided at the right time, so that young people have the opportunity to live safer and brighter futures.”