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Lisa’s Story: Helping to prevent Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence

Key insight 07 February 2022

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week 7th-13th February in the UK

#ITSNOTOK, highlights the social problems caused by sexual abuse and violence in the UK

Interventions Alliance knows the impact sexual abuse and sexual violence has on the victims, their family and loved ones, and the wider community.

Interventions Alliance’s experts work with offenders to break the cycle of crime and behaviours that have led to their convictions. Supporting victims and making communities safer is at the core of their services; finding effective and evidence-led solutions that make a positive impact on breaking the behaviours that lead to criminal activity.

The latest ONS figures on crime in England and Wales, covering the year ending September 2021, show that the number of sexual offences recorded by the police increased by 12% (170,973 offences) compared with the same period in the previous year. This represents the highest number of sexual offences recorded within a 12-month period. Rape offences accounted for 37% of all sexual offences recorded by the police in the year ending September 2021 (63,136 offences), the highest recorded annual figure to date (ONS Figures).

Interventions Alliance is helping ex-offenders to take ownership for their actions and move away from their criminal past. Working with national criminal justice charities the Forward Trust and Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) to deliver personal wellbeing services in Cheshire and Kent. Interventions Alliance look at the social care challenges that prevent offenders from making more progress on their rehabilitation journey, focusing on rebuilding their family ties, limiting negative influences, and engaging them in targeted pro-social activities.

Lisa Gill, who is part of the Personal and Wellbeing team at Interventions Alliance in Cheshire, explains that her work is helping to change lives and stop re-offending. She works with people who have committed a crime and supports them to understand the harm they have caused, and also gives victims the opportunity to ask questions.

“My role involves working with people who are in custody to provide them with a plan of support that they can access when they are released. It is important for people in custody to have this in place prior to their release for them to feel integrated back into their community and to avoid re-offending. A support plan can ensure that they know where to access support and encourage them to feel empowered to make positive choices about their future.

“Some of the people that I have worked with recently have committed crimes that they are incredibly ashamed of, some have also been victims of crime in their childhood, they have then gone on to commit crimes themselves. They may have little or no support from their family, have no positive relationships to build on and feel very isolated when returning back to their community.

“This lifestyle may lead to reverting back to previous behaviours that may harm people, they often believe that they can no longer work due to their offences, feel targeted in their community and suffer from complex mental health issues.”

Lisa concluded: “I’ve personally witnessed life changing moments where all parties affected were able to heal and move on from a traumatic event. This process highlights the importance of being non-judgemental and giving people the opportunity to live in their community and be a valued member of society.”

Suki Binning, Interventions Alliance Chief Social Worker/Executive Director of Justice, Social Care and Skills at Seetec, added: 

“Interventions Alliance is proud to support Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week. We deliver a range of interventions to help people who commit these offences to change their behaviour.

“We use a variety of activities to break down these barriers, gaining trust, understanding the trigger patterns of behaviour, and building self-belief and confidence is just part of the journey. For many having the opportunity to talk about their behaviours is key to their rehabilitation and ultimately prevent them from re-offending.”

The Ministry of Justice awarded Interventions Alliance, part of the employee-owned Seetec Group, Probation Dynamic Framework contracts in four English regions (South East, South West, East and North West) in June 2021.

Interventions Alliance will provide support to thousands of offenders that the probation service currently supervises across these regions each year. The contracts include education, training and employment, accommodation, and personal wellbeing support. The aim is to decrease offenders’ motivation to commit crime in future, boosting their chances of securing a job or finding a suitable place to live.