Long-term support services to help victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation

Published Friday, 11th December 2015
Launch of Rotherham Standing Together campaign
Launch of Rotherham Standing Together campaign

More support services for victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation are being commissioned over the next three years, as part of longer-term plans which have been agreed by Rotherham Council.

The Council, together with partners, will be inviting tenders on contracts worth around £600,000 over three years – with services based on research into the type and variety of services that are needed for people locally.

The commissioning work was informed by speaking and working with a number of victims and survivors.

Tenders are now invited for a package of services to run from 1 April 2016 to provide practical, emotional support and advocacy along with family therapy and counselling. 

This will build on the £120,000 immediate package of support which was put in place for victims and survivors following the Jay Report.

Cllr Chris Read, Leader of Rotherham Council, said: “This is a positive step forward in meeting our commitment to the survivors of child sexual exploitation, and their families, to provide the long term support that they need.

“We have been working closely with them, as well as expert agencies, to identify the right services to meet their needs, and are now moving to get those services in place.”

The contracts are being commissioned alongside NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to a value of £599,600 for three years, with an option to extend for a further two years – securing services until March 2021.

Sue Cassin, Chief Nurse of NHS Rotherham CCG, said: “Ensuring victims and their families have access to the post abuse support services they need remains a top priority for health services in Rotherham. Working closely with the council and our providers, we have recognised the need to further enhance support for victims, having previously invested in improving access to health services. This additional funding to improve services is underpinned by the extensive awareness training with our frontline health professionals over the last year."

In identifying the needs of victims and survivors, Rotherham Council worked closely with victims and survivors themselves and gathered evidence from voluntary sector groups who have experience of supporting survivors. In addition, the council was aided by NHS Rotherham CCG, The Office of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Voluntary Action Rotherham.

The proposals recommend the existing child sexual helpline for Rotherham is de-commissioned, to be replaced by other services.

Cllr Read added: “We set up the helpline alongside the NSPCC as a short-term way to ensure anyone who needed help could get it.  Over time, the number of calls has been fairly low, with the vast majority of calls being made by professionals and support services, so we are looking to provide support in a different way.”

The newly-commissioned long-term services will provide an on-call facility during the evening to enable victims, survivors and their family members to make contact outside of office hours.