Hereford rape and sexual abuse centre to open
Herefordshire's first government funded Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre is to open next week.
The centre offers dedicated and specialist help and advice for victims.
With funding from the Ministry of Justice, HRSASC as it will be known, will provide free, confidential and non-judgmental support for women who have experienced rape or sexual abuse.
It will be based in Hereford and the launch is at Hereford Town Hall on Thursday 17 November.
The service will include a telephone helpline, face-to-face counselling and independent sexual violence advisors (ISVA).
Jocelyn Anderson, HRSASC chief executive, said they were delighted to have been selected by the government to provide the rape centre for Herefordshire.
Working with police
"We aim to offer a high-quality service with excellent links to agencies such as West Mercia Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and Safer Herefordshire.
"We have 25 years' experience within this field in Worcestershire and are committed to supporting women whilst raising awareness to the damaging effects rape and sexual abuse can have on a woman's life."
She said the provision of a dedicated ISVA was particularly important as they "will predominantly work with women who have chosen to report their assault to the police".
"The ISVA will act as the client's advocate, whilst providing emotional and practical support throughout the reporting and criminal justice processes."
Ch Insp Adam Thomas of West Mercia Police said he wanted to reassure the public that offences of rape and sexual abuse were low across the county but believed HRSASC would prove to be an "invaluable local resource".
"It's important to stress that West Mercia Police investigate every report of rape and sexual abuse, and responsibility will always lie with the offender and not the victim."
The other three centres are in Trafford, Greater Manchester, Dorset and Devon.