Agenda item

Post-Abuse Support Arrangements

-           Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Adult Services to report.


Councillor Hoddinott, Deputy Leader, introduced a report by the Commissioning Manager, as it had been recognised that additional capacity was required to enable immediate post-abuse support to be provided to victims of abuse and child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.


The Leader of the Council announced on 10th September, 2014 that £120,000 had been made available for the period until March, 2015 and would be utilised to provide an immediate response. This was short term funding until 31st March, 2015 whilst a future service model was being developed to commission post abuse service for the longer term from 1st April, 2015.


The report proposed the commissioning of this £120,000 to deliver increased capacity, counselling/family support services from the Voluntary and Community Services sector in Rotherham to support victims via the following organisations:-


·                GROW - £20,000.

·                Rotherham Women’s Counselling Service (RWCS)/Pit Stop for Men - £20,000.

·                South Yorkshire Community Foundation (SYCF) - £20,000.

·                Additional Voluntary Sector Organisations - £49,000.

·                Contingency - £11,000.


Representatives of three organisations were invited to give short presentations on the work that they did and how they would use the additional funding proposed to provide the support.


The organisations were South Yorkshire Community Foundation, G.R.O.W. and Rotherham Women’s Counselling Service and Pit Stop for Men.


(1)  Jill Heggie from Rotherham Women’s Counselling Service and Pit Stop for Men gave a presentation highlighting the areas of:-


·                The history of the service.

·                The number of sessions provided each week.

·                The current service and what this included funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

·                Office staffing, rent and secured funding.

·                Current work arrangements, number of counsellors and contracted hours.

·                Number of referrals identified in the Annual Report 2013.

·                Activity during 2013 and current number of referrals for 2014.

·                Outcomes of sessions.

·                Organisational needs moving forward.

·                Use and planned spend of the £20,000 funding from the Council.


Cabinet Members sought clarification on current numbers and whether there had been a marked increase following publication of the Jay Report, targeting support for those in need and the increased numbers and dealing with pressure through demand and whether the N.H.S. were also provided services of this nature.


Information was provided on the increase of referrals following the Jay Report, the average number of sessions accessed by those in need and the support provided by specialised services in the N.H.S.  It was also pointed out that every effort was being made to increase counsellor capacity to meet demand, but this was restricted by the physical space available.


(2)  Sue Barratt and Joanna Jones from G.R.O.W. gave a brief overview of the organisation, which had been in operation for the past twenty-six years and was currently delivering a number of different projects.  The organisation was made up on nine workers dealing with on average three hundred and fifty women a year and their families.


The support offered did not focus specifically on one issue and it was now recognised that child sexual exploitation may be part of the problems.


The funding would be used to assist those in need with their communication skills in order that they could move towards positive life opportunities.  Current projects included:-


·                Teenage parents pathway.

·                Pilot with five families referred from the Sexual Assessment Referral Centre.

·                Young women aged thirteen to eighteen relevant to the work of child sexual exploitation.

·                Early health and family support.


The funding would also support:-


·                Involve Project 2013/14 and the aim to support young people.

·                Positive outcomes for eighteen young people engaged with the project 2013/14.

·                Positive outcomes for five families and their ten children engaged with the project.

·                Year 2 2014 Outcomes.

·                Post abuse funding for an additional full-time worker and an additional part-time post.


Cabinet Members asked a range of questions specifically around future funding and sustainability of organisations, funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner and the organisation’s access to those in need.


(3)  Ruth Willis from the South Yorkshire Community Foundation gave a brief overview of the organisation which focused on setting up and the management of funds for other organisations.


There were four key areas of activity which included:-


·                Building endowments.

·                Awarding grants South Yorkshire wide, of which approximately a quarter were in Rotherham.

·                Administration of four large active funds.

·                Providing funding advice through the South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau.


The Foundation was well placed for organisations to move quickly to set up funds where necessary.  A recently launched CSE fund, supported by the High Sherriff, would enable groups to access money in the form of a grant of up to £5,000 or more in exceptional circumstances.  A number of groups through this network were being funded to provide increased capacity to meet the post-abuse needs of child sexual exploitation victims and the funding was ring-fenced for increased capacity across Rotherham.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the proposals as set out to deliver immediate post-abuse support across Rotherham until 31st March, 2015 be approved.


(2)  That Jill Heggie, Sue Barratt, Joanna Jones and Ruth Willis be thanked for their informative presentations outlining their use of the proposed additional funding support.

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