Thursday, January 28, 2021

Lincolnshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre celebrates 10-year anniversary

Spring Lodge, a sexual assault referral centre run by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT), has been providing support to people in the county for 10 years.

The centre, which is jointly commissioned by the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner and NHS England and Improvement, supports any adult, male or female, who has been raped, sexually assaulted or sexually abused at any point in their lives.

Since opening its doors in March 2010, the centre has helped 2,275 men and women through its Independent Sexual Violence Advisor and Forensic Medical Examination services.

Amanda Farquhar, Manager of Spring Lodge, said: “Our aim is to help empower people by informing them of their options and assisting people in making their own decisions about their recovery.

“We do not just work with recent cases nor do we only work with those wishing to report to the police which is a common misunderstanding.”

One of the services provided by the centre is the Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) service, which offers practical and emotional support to anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted, either recently or in the past.

The team can help with everything from understanding any possible legal case and the police process, even if clients don’t want to make things formal, through to moving on and counselling support.

One of the centre’s female clients said: “The ISVA support service has been nothing but a positive experience for me and my support worker has been so patient with me.

“Whilst my investigation is now over, I still receive regular support, with the focus shifting to building a more positive life for myself and my family.

“Life has finally become worth living. I have hope, excitement and faith in myself. Additionally, a few ghosts from the past have been laid to rest, enabling me a level of peace that I have never felt before.”

Earlier this year the centre achieved the Lime Culture Quality Standards for Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Services, showing the service’s commitment to delivering excellent care to clients.

Spring Lodge also provides forensic medical examinations, as well as the opportunity to gather intelligence from victims wishing to tell the police about their perpetrator without reporting or giving their name.

Being part of LPFT means that the centre can support clients to access further mental health and counselling services, without the person having to go through their GP, which is welcomed by clients who do not wish to have to tell their story all over again.

One of the centre’s male clients said: “I didn’t think I needed any support but once I reached out and asked for it after many months of trying it alone, I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner.

“The help I got was invaluable both from an emotional and practical point of view.”

The centre continues to expand its team and recently received funding to recruit its first male ISVA, a positive step forward in the support it offers and news which has been wholly accepted by clients.

Marc Jones, Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The centre can be rightly proud of the amazing work they have done to support and help survivors of abuse for the last decade.

“The staff provide critical services to people desperately in need and the work is both physically and emotionally demanding.

“I want to thank all of the staff at Spring Lodge for their 10 years of dedication to helping others and wish them success for the future.”

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