Posted on 15th January 2020

People who have experienced sexual abuse in Cheshire are now more likely to access support thanks to a new anonymous online support service.

Launched last autumn by Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service with funding from Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner, Survivors Livechat is providing confidential online support to survivors of rape and sexual violence across Cheshire two evenings a week.

Every Monday and Wednesday between 6pm-8pm, survivors are able to log onto the service’s website and chat anonymously to a trained support worker who will offer emotional support, information and sign-posting to relevant services.

The service has now been open for 20 sessions and 28 volunteers have received specialist training to deliver the online support.

Alison Breadon, centre manager of Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service, said: “We’re finding that online services are preferred by a wide range of people; it can be hard to speak on the phone - text or typing is sometimes easier and more anonymous.

“On our first evening, a survivor contacted us for help and told us that she would not have contacted us that night if it wasn’t for the LiveChat service. Another survivor said it’s really easy to access the service on the go without the pressure of talking to someone face-to-face.”

PCC and CSASS with funded by sign.jpeg

PCC David Keane recently visited the service to see the difference it’s making to survivors across Cheshire.

He said: “This is a fantastic service which provides anybody experiencing abuse with the information they need to help them make safe decisions.

“Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service do a tremendous job supporting survivors of sexual abuse across Cheshire with counselling services to help them recover from their ordeal and the online service is helping them reach even more people.”

Alison Breadon added: “We were delighted to welcome PCC David Keane to our centre to find out more about the LiveChat service and how it is helping us reach more survivors of sexual violence.

“We very much appreciate the support of the PCC in helping us deliver and promote this new service and for his enthusiasm in encouraging new ways to meet the needs of survivors here in Cheshire.”

The Survivors Livechat service can be accessed alongside the existing telephone support by visiting www.csass.org.uk