Gay groups get cash boost

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Groups supporting gay issues are to be given a cash boost to help combat sexual violence, the Home Office announced today.

Home Office Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, revealed that £1.25 million would be made available for voluntary and community organisations throughout England and Wales.

The Kensington Chelsea based Terrence Higgins Trust which supports people and raises awareness of HIV, Aids and other STIs has been awarded £29,489 for a project which provides support to young gay and bisexual male sex workers throughout London who have been victims of sexual assault.

The project will provide a range of services including counselling, call out services, information, onward referral, therapy, outreach work, group sessions/counselling, provision of acute services in the immediate aftermath of assault.

Patrick Halpin, who manages THT’s SW5 project for male sex workers in London told “Many of our clients have experienced sexual assault, either in their childhood, or through their work. It’s really important that we provide this support and help them to come to terms with an issue that can have such a devastating effect on people’s lives.”

Galop, a group in Islington providing advice and advocacy for victims of sexual offences throughout London is to receive £28,084 to extend their service to find ‘hidden’ lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) victims of sexual offences

Funding has also gone to groups such as Barnardo’s in Ilford who have been awarded £28,500 to help young people at risk of sexual violence in London and East Anglia. The money will be used for a variety of purposes including funding staff to work with an additional 10 children and provide counselling,

Mr Sutcliffe said: “Sexual crimes can result in high levels of distress and can be the most damaging physically and emotionally. This funding will help to ensure that victims of these terrible offences have timely access to advice, information, care and counselling that meets their individual needs no matter where they are in the country.

“I am determined that the needs of victims of crime must be better met and this funding is part of a wider programme of Government initiatives to put the needs of those affected by crime central in the criminal justice system.”

Terrence Higgins Trust has this week launched ‘Here for You’, a new counselling service for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) young people aged 13 to 25 in Wolverhampton. The service is being provided in partnership with local youth project Base 25 and will be available at THT’s offices in the city centre and at Base 25.

LGB young people may need additional support due to the homophobia they often experience in their families, schools and communities. Here for You aims to provide help by offering counselling and emotional support for LGB young people or any young person wanting to talk about issues around sex, safe sex, sexuality or relationships. Appointments are available during the daytime and evenings.

Jane Morel, Services Manager for Terrence Higgins Trust in Wolverhampton said: “Lesbian and gay young people are often isolated. Unfortunately homophobia still exists and young people can be frightened of asking for support in case it leads to stigmatisation and bullying.

“There’s very little support for lesbian and gay people in Wolverhampton and we hope that the new counselling service will make a big difference to LGB young people who are not able to access other services.”