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Supporting children and young people affected by sexual abuse

Children and young people who have suffered sexual abuse and exploitation in Bedfordshire can access specialist emotional and counselling support through the Sexual Violence Step Down Service provided by Embrace Child Victims of Crime.

The services are being promoted as part of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week (Monday 1 February to Sunday 7 February).

Embrace CVOC is supporting the national awareness campaign to encourage people to stand against these horrific crimes and encourage those affected to get help.

Chief Executive of Embrace Child Victims of Crime Anne Campbell said: “Over half of our referrals last year were from families affected by sexual violence and demand for our services is on the rise.

“Each year we help thousands of children across the UK cope with the after effects of these and other crimes and rebuild their lives after the terrible trauma they have experienced.This week police, charities and other agencies are all coming together to share the message ‘It’s not ok’.

“I encourage any families whose children have been affected by sexual abuse or violence or any other serious crimes to contact Embrace CVOC for our support. We listen to your individual circumstances and tailor our support to meet your specific needs.”

The Sexual Violence Step Down Service is commissioned by Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway who has provided additional funding to expand services over the next two months.

The service is provided by Embrace’s therapeutic team who are KIDVA (Children’s Independent Domestic Violence Adviser) and ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor) trained specialists to help children recover from trauma.

Anne Campbell added: “Embrace is delighted to be working with Bedfordshire’s new Sexual Abuse Referral Centre to enable us to reach more young people who need support following sexual abuse, assault or exploitation.

“We have developed a range of therapeutic services which can be delivered online, on the telephone or in person. Supporting children and young people when they need it most is very important and our specialist team will be there for them.”

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, said: “Sexual assaults have the potential to change a life forever, building a lasting sense of vulnerability, a lack of self worth and the inability to trust others and form relationships if specialist support is not available to counter these. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to me to commission services to provide this effectively, even in the middle of a national pandemic.”

Embrace CVOC invites referrals from the police, teachers and others working in safeguarding roles from all over the UK.

The charity offers specialist counselling, advice and guidance and offers practical support for low income families with food vouchers, tablets and phone to access support, craft items and educational activities. Working with partners, Embrace CVOC also provides opportunities for families to spend quality time together and to make happier memories.

Embrace CVOC is the only charity in the UK which works solely with children who have been harmed by serious crime. Since 1993 it has helped many thousands of children across the UK who have suffered violent, physical or sexual abuse or neglect, or who have lost a close family member to homicide. It operates in all part of the UK, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Embrace is commissioned to provide its specialist services in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Cheshire, Greater London, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire.

To find out more about Embrace CVOC visit

If you have any questions about Embrace CVOC you can email or call 0345 60 999 60.