A new online support service for survivors of sexual violence in Cheshire has launched.

The new helpline has launched after receiving a £5,000 grant from the county's police and crime commissioner David Keane, from his Safer Communities Fund.

Delivered by the Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service, the Survivors Livechat will run for two evenings every week and will offer emotional support, information and sign-posting to survivors of rape, sexual violence and sexual abuse.

PCC David Keane, said:

This new service will be crucial in supporting survivors who lack confidence seeking support face-to-face or over the phone, enabling them to make informed decisions about reporting abuse to the police. It’s important that we provide as many mechanisms as possible to support survivors of these heinous crimes and I’m pleased that my Safer Communities Fund can help open up another avenue for survivors to seek support.

PCC David Keane

The helpline is staffed by volunteers who are specially trained in supporting survivors to overcome their ordeal and aims to provide support to victims who may not feel confident enough to access the support provided by the service over the phone.

Alison Breadon, centre manager of Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service, added:

We are delighted to receive this vital support towards our new Livechat service. This will enable us to provide more accessible support to more survivors of sexual violence across Cheshire. We’ll be helping people at a really vulnerable time in their lives, enabling and empowering survivors to cope with their experience, and decide for themselves what they want to do next. Survivors tell us sometimes it’s hard to talk on the phone, and Livechat can be a real lifeline – and now we’re able to provide that, thanks to the generous support of the commissioner’s Safer Communities fund.

Alison Breadon, Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service