A Warwick charity which works to prevent sexual abuse and to support affected survivors has been awarded £5,000 from the WPH Charitable Trust.

Safeline, based in Warwick and Stratford, will use the grant to support the charity’s wide range of services.

Set up in 1994 the charity offers face-to-face, online and telephone counselling, creative therapies and group therapies, personal and social development programmes and one to one support for vulnerable children and young people.

There are also separate helplines and online services for men, women and young people, as well as practical and emotional support when reporting abuse to the police, and training services for parents and professionals supporting survivors.

Just three years ago the charity was supporting 2,000 people. This year it is estimated it will support some 15,000, managing 44,000 calls and 44,000 texts and emails.

Neil Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of Safeline, said recent high-profile news stories – including allegations by professional footballers in the UK, accusations against Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and the rape of David Platt in Coronation Street, had all helped to encourage long-suffering survivors to disclose their abuse and seek support.

Neil said: “Over the past few years we have seen numerous high-profile stories about sexual abuse.

“These stories have given people hope that they might be believed which has encouraged many more survivors to disclose their abuse and seek support after many years of suffering in silence.”

He added: “Many of the people we support were abused 20 or 30 years ago. Indeed, we recently supported a 91-year-old male survivor who has lived with his abuse for over 80 years.

“Not only is there a moral case to support survivors of sexual abuse, there is also an economic one, because many of the people we work with find it hard to continue with their education, they sometimes struggle to hold down a job and have to cope with reduced earnings, and they are more likely to become frequent users of emergency and medical care services.”

Official statistics estimate that one in six men and one in five women are affected by sexual abuse in the UK so it is little surprise that demand for the services Safeline provides has grown at a dramatic rate over the last few years. The charity has generated additional funds to support more people but says it has reached only the tip of the iceberg, with many people remaining unsupported.

Neil said: “To receive this funding from the WPH Charitable Trust is hugely important as it will enable us to support more survivors to cope and recover from the effects of their abuse. It was not the first time the Trust had helped us. We have now received four grants in total, to the sum of 13,000.”

“We thank WPH Charitable Trust for helping us to help make a difference to people’s lives.”

The WPH Charitable Trust provides funding for groups and individuals who work to prevent, relieve and cure sickness in Coventry and Warwickshire. The Trust provides grants for medical research, buildings, equipment and other forms of medical care for residents of the region. All applications are made via the Trust’s website and are assessed on a quarterly basis.

For further details log on to www.warwickshirehealthcharity.org.uk

Alternatively, applications can be sent by post to: Secretary to the WPH Charitable Trust, c/o Blythe Liggins, Edmund House, Rugby Road, Leamington Spa, CV32 6EL.

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