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Mobile Therapy Unit visits North Wales Police HQ

May 5th 2022, 8:21 pm by Calon FM Newsdesk

A new mobile therapy unit visited North Wales Police Headquarters in Colwyn Bay today to shine a light on efforts to combat violence against women in communities across the region.

The unit has been funded by Welsh Government as part of a capital grantand is being run by RASASC North Wales (Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre). The mobile vehicle unit includes a private sitting and consultation area, with facilities to meet and have a coffee and chat with service users and where they can receive information, advice and counselling support.

The aim is to support those directly affected by sexual violence and their families and the service will cover all the counties across North Wales in the medium of Welsh and English. The service will include a mix of rural and urban settings, with the aim of visiting venues such as supermarket carparks and hospital carparks to do conduct regular drop ins. The vehicle will also be used to raise awareness, providing a visible presence and target hardening products during freshers' weeks and attending schools, colleges, and universities throughout the year.

It was welcomed at Headquarters by a group of North Wales Police officers and staff, as well as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, Wayne Jones, who were keen to show their support for the project and the wider campaign to reduce violence against women and girls.

The need for the new unit has been demonstrated by the large increase in referrals regarding violence against women and girls in North Wales seen by professionals in recent years, growing from 178 in 2011-12 to 801 in 2021-22. RASASC NW also recognised the need for it to expand its reach across the area, and that women in marginalised communities, rural areas, or those lacking transport or internet connectivity, needed to be able to access its vital services and advice. The service will also aim to serve the LGBTQ+ community, Travelling community, BAME community and sex workers, who will be able to assess crisis drop in sessions at the main RASASC centre, as well as use the mobile therapy unit.

Gaynor McKeown, Interim CEO, RASASC North Wales, commented:

"RASASC NW are working closely with North Wales Police and the Welsh Government to combat and address the issues of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and improve access to advice and support. We have launched the new mobile therapy unit to ensure that we can reach as many communities across North Wales as possible, working with these communities to raise awareness and tackle sexual violence.
“RASASC NW are the largest accredited providers of support and advice services for all victims of rape or sexual assault in North Wales. Our team of qualified counsellors and ISVA's provide tailored support to survivors which is free, confidential and can be delivered face to face or remotely. Working with North Wales Police, we have identified that there are some geographical areas where victims are not accessing support. With the new mobile therapy unit and the launch of our "Don't steal my Future" educational programme, we are hoping to raise awareness of our service, enabling more victims and their families impacted by sexual violence to access help.”

Wayne Jones, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales commented:

“It was an honour to welcome the new RASASC NW therapy unit to Police Headquarters. RASASC NW have created a vital service that will enable communities and vulnerable individuals right across North Wales to access the support and advice that is crucial if we are to overcome the growing scourge of violence against women and girls.”

Andy Dunbobbin, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales said:

“My Police and Crime Plan for North Wales has tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence at its heart and this initiative will help achieve those aims. We are pleased to support both RASASC, North Wales Police and all other partners in their efforts to make our homes and streets across North Wales safer for women and girls.”

VAWG Lead for North Wales Police, Chief Superintendent Jason Devonport said:

“This is an excellent asset and opportunity to engage with all of our communities, especially some of our more rural areas, in which we know domestic abuse and sexual violence occurs and is less frequently reported.
“We are committed to support those people who suffer this behaviour but want to be able to bring perpetrators to justice speedily and effectively. This type of engagement and support can only strengthen the partnership approach to violence against women and girls.”