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Rape victim's to get a voice

PUBLISHED: 16:18 31 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 23 August 2010

FUNDING has been secured to enable a charity to pay a dedicated support worker to help victims of rape and sexual assault for another year. Family Matters, in Wrotham Road, Gravesend, has been awarded a £20,000 Home Office grant to fund the Independent S

FUNDING has been secured to enable a charity to pay a dedicated support worker to help victims of rape and sexual assault for another year.

Family Matters, in Wrotham Road, Gravesend, has been awarded a £20,000 Home Office grant to fund the Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA).

The charity offers support and counselling to child and adult victims across Kent and parts of south-east London.

Operations director Malcolm Gilbert said: "With the money secured we are now looking for an exceptional woman to fill the post.

"They must be an outstanding and passionate communicator, a diplomat but at the same time fearless about being the voice of rape victims."

The ISVA will offer tailored non-therapeutic support, signposting, advice and guidance to victims of rape and sexual violence including close support through the Criminal Justice System and other agencies.

In February the charity secured the UK's first Child and Young Person's ISVA through the Equalities & Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Family Matters experts gave evidence to the Stern Enquiry into rape investigation which was published last week.

The report highlighted the work of ISVA's saying: "We recommend that Independent Sexual Violence Advisors be seen as an intrinsic part of the way rape complainants are dealt with."

Victims can be referred a variety of ways including the police and health workers at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in the Renton Clinic, Darent Valley hospital. Self referrals are also encouraged.

The grant was made possible through its partnership with Kent Criminal Justice Board (KCJB), chiefly Kent Police and Kent CPS.

The ISVA service is confidential and those wishing to access the support it offers can do so without ever having to report to the police if they choose not to.

Family Matter's is the UK's largest service of its kind, seeing more than 700 clients this year and taking about 3,000 calls on its helpline.

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