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Child sex abuse: groups offering support services face closure

Downing Street accused over lack of funds to help people sexually abused as children

By David Hencke and Mark Conrad | 25 March 2013

“Some organisations are having to close because of lack of public funding”
Jonathan Bird, operations manager, NAPAC

Downing Street is under fire for failing to fund support services for people who were sexually abused as children despite a surge in police cases. Groups that offer counselling to such people say that they are closing because of a lack of funding.

And they accuse the office of the prime minister, David Cameron, of making a misleading claim that £10.5 million had been put aside over three years to fund such services.

Downing Street’s claim was in response to two men sexually abused as boys in care in Richmond, south-west London who re-opened their investigation into historical allegations of sexual abuse of children at Kincora boys’ home. It is one of at least 30 “major” police operations that underlines calls by people who suffered sexual abuse as children for ministers to find resources for counselling and other support services.

One, who gave details to detectives of being sexually abused as a boy at Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London, told Exaro just over a week ago that he was left to ask his GP about a link worker to help him find help such as counselling.

He was finally allocated a link worker. But he told Exaro: “My so-called ‘link worker’ said that she is not willing to help me, and that I should seek help from other sources.”

“I feel trapped.”

Another, who wanted to be referred to as Sam, said that he had been left traumatised after police asked to interview him.

He contacted Victim Support, the charity that helps people who suffered from a wide range of crimes, he said, but: “I thought that it was above their pay grade.”

Javed Khan, chief executive of Victim Support, responded that it helps people cope with, and recover from, historical sex abuse.

He said: “Sexual abuse can leave long-lasting emotional scars, so we understand the trauma that this victim may have suffered. We are used to helping victims weeks, months and years after the crime has taken place.”

Jonathan Bird, operations manager of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), said: “Some organisations are having to close because of lack of public funding.”

Michael May, manager for business development at Survivors UK, which helps male victims of sexual abuse, said: “The recent budget made no reference to providing enhanced support for these victims.”

“Services are having to restrict their offering because of financial concerns, and waiting lists for desperately-needed therapeutic support are growing longer and longer.”

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Exaro News investigates matters of public interest and seeks to uncover the truth.