Healthwatch Thurrock had been made aware of changes to the commissioning of current sexual violence support provision. On the basis of this information, conversations were had with commissioners and providers around the impact of changes to the victims and survivors within Thurrock and surrounding areas. The result of these discussions were taken to the Health, Overview and Scrutiny Committee which prompted an independent review that would feed into an understanding of needs to direct future commissioning.
To ensure independence, Healthwatch Thurrock was commissioned by Thurrock Public Health to collect the views and experiences of victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse and the professionals they may come into contact with. Throughout the report, providers of services have been anonymised.
- Victims and survivors of sexual violence tend to initially disclose to a family or friend (36 from 78 respondents)
- Disclosure experience was positive for over half of individuals
- A large group of individuals reported negative disclosure experience (47%)
- Waiting times for a quarter of individuals was one week for appointment to a specialist service or support following disclosure
- Some individuals reported a wait of up to six months or more to see a support service
- The impact on an individual’s mental health was the highest reported impact following sexual violence and/or abuse (45%)
- Mental Health issues is the reason most individuals sought support, even if this was years after the sexual violence and/or abuse
- Waiting times for Mental Health Services were the main barrier to support.