Posted on 12th September 2019

A new online support service for survivors of sexual violence in Cheshire has launched thanks to funding from the county’s police and crime commissioner David Keane.

Delivered by the Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service, the Survivors Livechat offers emotional support, information and sign-posting to survivors of rape, sexual violence and sexual abuse.

The helpline is staffed by volunteers who are specially trained in supporting survivors to overcome their ordeal.

It aims to provide support to victims who may not feel confident enough to access the support provided by the service over the phone.

PCC David Keane has awarded Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service a £5,000 grant from his Safer Communities Fund to allow the online chat service to run for two evenings every week. He said:

“This new service will be crucial in supporting survivors who lack confidence seeking support face-to-face or over the phone, enabling them to make informed decisions about reporting abuse to the police.

“It’s important that we provide as many mechanisms as possible to support survivors of these heinous crimes and I’m pleased that my Safer Communities Fund can help open up another avenue for survivors to seek support.”

The online support service was set-up following a study from Rape Crisis England and Wales which identified that 79 per cent of young women felt confident using online technology to access support and 54 per cent of them prioritised email and text communication.

Alison Breadon, centre manager of Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service, added:

“We are delighted to receive this vital support towards our new Livechat service. This will enable us to provide more accessible support to more survivors of sexual violence across Cheshire.

“We’ll be helping people at a really vulnerable time in their lives, enabling and empowering survivors to cope with their experience, and decide for themselves what they want to do next.

“Survivors tell us sometimes it’s hard to talk on the phone, and Livechat can be a real lifeline – and now we’re able to provide that, thanks to the generous support of the commissioner’s Safer Communities fund.”

The Survivors Livechat service can be accessed alongside the existing telephone support on Monday and Wednesday evenings between 6pm-8pm by visiting www.csass.org.uk