Sexual exploitation support service secures a way forward

Date Added: December 20, 2018

Cyfannol Women’s Aid has taken over management of a Gwent-Wide Sexual Exploitation Advocacy Support Service to ensure the vulnerable women it has been helping will continue to receive the support they need. This move will end a period of uncertainty for its staff, and women who access the service.

The Sexual Exploitation Advocacy Support Service (SEASS) project provides information, advice, support and advocacy services to women who are currently, or are at risk of, experiencing sexual or financial exploitation. The charity that previously managed it went into liquidation last month. The short-term future of this service has been assured following an agreement with the Big Lottery Fund that Cyfannol Women’s Aid will manage the grant to deliver the project until the end of the funding period.

CEO of Cyfannol Women’s Aid, Helen Swain, said: “The priorities for everyone involved have been the continuation of service to the vulnerable women who access the project and an offer of temporary employment to the existing staff who deliver this service. Although this is an unfortunate situation, as the lead organisation in Gwent for all forms of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence, we welcome the opportunity to broaden Cyfannol’s Horizon Services into sexual exploitation. We look forward to working with staff from the Sexual Exploitation Advocacy Support Service team to reduce the barriers women who access their service face, continuing the excellent progress they have made. Going forward, our focus will be on securing funding from March 2019 to ensure this vital service can continue.”

Barbara Walsh, the Service Manager for SEASS, said: “Joining Cyfannol Women’s Aid’s Horizon service will enhance the support services available to exploited and vulnerable women and young people. SEASS sees this as a positive move for the service and the people we provide support to.”

Suzanne Brown who manages the grant for the Big Lottery Fund added: “We were keen to work with the Sexual Exploitation Advocacy Support Service (SEASS) and Cyfannol Women’s Aid to ensure that the grant could continue to be used to support the women accessing the project. We are delighted that Cyfannol Women’s Aid has been able to step in and complete this phase of funding which ends in March 2019.”