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Norwich domestic violence charity sets up new service

PUBLISHED: 15:42 09 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:10 01 July 2010

Dan Grimmer

A Norwich charity committed to supporting survivors of sexual and domestic violence is introducing a new service aimed at people with mental health problems and ethnic minorities.

A city charity committed to supporting survivors of sexual and domestic violence is introducing a new service aimed at people with mental health problems and ethnic minorities.

Sexual Violence Alliance (SeVA) has already started the one-year diversity project, which is funded by the Equality Human Rights Commission, in Great Yarmouth and it will soon be opened in Norwich and Thetford.

SeVA aims to support and empower men and women who have been affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse and the new project reaches out to two priority groups who can sometimes miss out.

The charity, based in Thorpe Road, has been operating for more than 20 years providing a helpline, counselling and individual support for men and women survivors of sexual abuse, past and present and it incorporates two other charities; Norwich Rape Crisis and MPower.

Some of the work the charity carries out involves counselling people whose lives have spiralled out of control for years because they were unable to face up to abuse they suffered in the past.

Alessia Pinna is a project manager for SeVa. She said over the year of the project she wants to increase services for individuals, particularly those who suffer inequality and disadvantage.

“We want to give them choice, control and empowerment over their own lives in relation to social care, health, housing, education, employment and business advice.

“We aim to reach all diversity groups, in particular BME (black and minority ethnic) and people with mental health problems or issues.”

In relation to BME the charity will be focusing especially on Portugese, Lithuanian and Polish communities as they are the biggest among ethnic minority groups.

The new service emerged following a study by SeVA which a lack of specialised third sector services, particularly in Great Yarmouth and Thetford, for people suffering from mental health problems across cultures, and the consequential effect of loss of confidence, isolation and depression.

Ms Pinna added: “For this reason diversity project aims to develop a network of counselling and support services for survivors of sexual violence giving a priority to BME people and mental health sufferers.

“Therefore SeVA's services will be improved by developing localised approaches for our priority groups.”

SeVA is also looking for volunteers to work as counsellors, self help group facilitators and support workers as well as volunteers who are interested in developing the project with language, marketing or event related skills.

For details about volunteering email alessia@seva-uk.org

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