Families in Portsmouth will soon be able to access the Frankie Worker counselling service, which supports young victims of child sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation, and female genital mutilation (FGM) following decisions by Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, and NHS England to extend funding.
The Frankie Worker service provides support to some of the most vulnerable victims of sexual crime by offering specialist counselling at an early stage to prevent trauma from developing into poor mental health.
The service has been in operation in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight since April 2017 and is proving effective in helping children and young people better cope with their trauma. Following its successful first year, the Police and Crime Commissioner and NHS England have agreed to provide additional funding to extend the service into Portsmouth. The Frankie Worker Service in Portsmouth will be provided in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS).
Michael Lane said: “The Frankie Worker scheme is an innovative joint venture. It helps support those affected by the strategic threat of child sexual exploitation, and it cares for the most vulnerable victims and survivors of crime within our communities. We owe it to these children to ensure they get the best possible support, which is accessible and offered at a time they need it the most.
“It is also an inspiring example of partnership working beyond policing to keep us all safer and to empower people to realise their life opportunities, including helping victims and survivors on their journey of recovery and enabling them to experience a better and more hopeful future.”
Councillor Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety at Portsmouth City Council, said: “I’m glad that funding has enabled Portsmouth to have a Frankie worker to help victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. The horrific nature of the suffering people who’ve been through such abuse have endured makes it vitally important that they get support and counselling to come to terms with their experiences and to help with their recovery.”
PARCS Centre Director, Kim Hosier, said ‘PARCS is delighted to be part of this important project. The Frankie Workers will complement our existing counselling services for children and young people and will mean that no young person will need to wait for specialist counselling’.
Frankie Worker Client, aged 15 said: “I find the sessions very useful and calming, I feel like I can talk freely and almost without a care in the world. It is helping me to strengthen my character and deal with everyday life.”