Sexual abuse support service awarded grant as lockdown lifting sees cases increase

Red Kite grant

The team at Red Kite are particularly keen to reach victims in the Letchworth area, which records a significant number of sexual violence crimes - Credit: Red Kite

A Letchworth-based victim support charity will be expanding its services both in the town and online, thanks to a £2,000 grant.

Letchworth Heritage Foundation awarded the grant to Red Kite, which specialises in providing support to victims who have experienced rape and sexual abuse/assault and offers guidance to those who contact them.

This work has been online-based during the pandemic, but this grant facilitates extra capacity in group sessions. These sessions are vital to enable people who have suffered from those issues to gain help and support.

Dr Sue Rayner Jacobs, deputy chair and treasurer of Red Kite Board of Trustees said: “This funding is extremely welcome and will contribute towards the costs of running Red Kite’s group counselling service.

"Rape and sexual abuse, stalking and internet abuse - such as revenge porn - have increased significantly since the easing of lockdown, the majority of which is perpetrated against women and girls in our communities.

"This can cause lasting trauma which can develop into other medical and psychological difficulties.

“We at Red Kite believe all victims and survivors have a right to support and have a cadre of helpline staff and therapists who are willing to listen to, support and guide them to recovery. We are particularly keen to reach victims in the Letchworth area, which records a significant number of sexual violence crimes.”

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Research has shown that in certain instances group therapy can be as beneficial as individual support, as sharing struggles and experiences with those who have experienced similar issues also reduces stigma and feelings of isolation.

Peer to peer groups can also create friendships between people who have the same lived experiences.

Head of charitable projects and partnerships, Alastair Stewart, said “We awarded a grant to aid essential work such as this to help people locally who may be suffering quietly to gain help and support. We hope creating local support groups will enable easier access to help.”

“In the longer term potentially through these groups new friendships and social networks will be built.”

Sessions will run for around 12 weeks and are accessible by contacting Red Kite directly on 01279 790450. Red Kite are also able to make referrals to other specialist organisations where necessary.

The last grants deadline for 2021 is September 24, find out more at Letchworth.com/grants.

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