Tees

EVA Women’s Aid specialist sexual violence service under threat

Redcar
Image caption There are fears the specialist sexual violence counselling service will end next month

A support service for victims of sexual violence is under threat after losing a government grant.

EVA Women's Aid's bid for funding up to 2022 from the Ministry of Justice's Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Fund but was rejected.

The Redcar-based charity said it was "absolutely devastated" to have to turn people away from the end of June.

Justice Minister Edward Argar, said the government was providing funding "across more regions than ever".

EVA Women's Aid provides free, confidential support services for women and children affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence.

Last year £84,000 of government funding provided about 15% of the total £550,00 running costs.

Without it, the charity says its counselling service, which helps survivors of rape, sexual violence and child sexual abuse, will no longer be able to operate from 1 July.

Image caption The charity says they are "devastated" they might have to turn people away

Chief executive Richinda Taylor said: "I was devastated... our service users and former service users have been very supportive and they have written letters, offered help and done fundraising, but it was quite a significant amount of money and we are really struggling to fill that gap.

"It's a difficult decision for anybody to seek support, so to finally make that decision and then to be turned away, can be absolutely devastating.

"To know that service isn't available to them is heartbreaking."

Those seeking help in Redcar and Cleveland will have to travel to Middlesbrough or further afield for the service.

The Labour MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, said: "It's much more difficult to access services like east Cleveland where the villages are more remote.

"We need centres that are really accessible, but also extremely experienced and highly skilled and trained, they're providing a service that nobody one else is providing, so it's vital that we have it in Redcar and Cleveland."

Mr Argar, said: "We will be funding Arch North East to provide support across the county. As with all centres receiving MOJ grant funding, it will be expected to support victims resident across that entire area."

You can see more on this story on Sunday Politics on BBC One at 12:00 GMT on 9 June.

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