Tackling Child Sexual Abuse

The not-for-profit organisation StopSO (The Specialist Treatment Organisation for the Prevention of Sexual Offending) was awarded a grant of £5,500 in September last year from Gwent PCC Ian Johnston's Partnership Fund. StopSO are using the award on offering subsidised psychological therapy for sex offenders and their families.

As part of this support, StopSO will train therapists and mental health professionals in Gwent and South Wales. A series of reduced cost courses are being run in February and March that will give them the tools to work with this client group.

Juliet Grayson, Chair of StopSO, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this funding. Our work supports the new strategy being implemented by police forces and Ceop (the child exploitation and online protection command of the National Crime Agency), which advocates engaging mental health service providers to provide psychological help for child sexual offenders, to stop them abusing children.

"Up to 80 per cent of sexual abuse is perpetrated by members of the close or extended family and research shows that with the right kind of psychological interventions the reoffending rate can be as low as 4.6 per cent. This approach helps us to break the cycle of abuse and will help to keep children in Gwent safe."

The last round of the Commissioner's Partnership Fund was made available in May 2014 for charities, voluntary organisations and community groups in Gwent involved in activities that have a positive impact on their communities. It is funded by the proceeds of crime recovered by the police and from the sale of unclaimed found property. Following a rigorous assessment of applications, more than 40 organisations or groups were notified that their bids had been successful.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Ian Johnston, said: "My role goes beyond policing and since being elected into office I have focussed strongly on working with numerous partners in the community such as StopSO on tackling crime and its root causes. Projects such as this one, which have rehabilitative qualities at their core, play a vital role in supporting offenders to break free from the cycle of reoffending. Every penny invested in interventions saves money in tackling crime overall and these partnerships and initiatives which I fund and support assist me in developing approaches which ensure people in Gwent are less affected by crime."

The first training course that is set to take place on February 21 at Monmouth Priory. For more information, call StopSO on 07770 964 864 or email info@stopso.org.uk.