A new helpline that will provide expert support for victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence or sex trafficking has been launched in Northamptonshire.
The new phoneline will be provided by Northamptonshire Rape Crisis, who will employ 10 professional trained counsellors to talk to any male or female victims of crime aged over 16, even if the incident happened many years ago.
The service has been introduced by police and crime commissioner Adam Simmonds and has received £30,000 worth of funding from the Ministry of Justice after the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commission successfully bid for money last year.
Mr Simmonds said: “Providing services such as this new helpline is one of the most important and exciting parts of my role.
“For too long victims have been in the background of the criminal justice system and I am determined that the people of Northamptonshire should have the best, most comprehensive support service in the UK.
“Voice has seen the previous Victim Support provision and police Witness Care Unit move into one organisation to help provide better, enhanced and more joined-up support for victims and witnesses.
“This helpline is the first step in providing additional support for victims in Northamptonshire - support that has never been available before and which people are entitled to.”
Dawn Thomas, CEO of NRC and vice chair of Rape Crisis England and Wales, said the Northamptonshire Rape Crisis (NRC) had received a 15 per cent increase in calls since Operation Yewtree started in 2012.
Dawn Thomas, CEO of NRC and vice chair of Rape Crisis England and Wales, said: “I genuinely feel victims are more confident about coming forward now.
“We are delighted to be able to offer the helpline as an additional point of access for anyone who has been directly or indirectly affected by IPV. The helpline will enable NRC to work in partnership with Voice and other service providers throughout the county.”
Linda Lee, chair of Voice, said: “This helpline provides support to those who are victims of some of the most dreadful crimes. I know that it can be very difficult to take that first step and seek help but I want to encourage victims to call. Skilled and sympathetic advisors are waiting to give you the help and advice you need. Please pick up the phone.”
The helpline ohone number is 0300 222 5930
The phone line is available for victims of rape, stalking, female genital mutilation, harassment, historic abuse, forced marriage, honour based violence and sex trafficking, and will be available Monday – Friday 10am – 3pm, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 6pm – 8pm and Saturday 10am – 12pm. Although these hours may change according to when the highest call volumes come through.