Message to supporters from  Lyn Gooding First Light CEO

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2021. I have to be honest the year has not had the best of starts for so many reasons. Tighter restrictions on mixing over Christmas and New Year followed by a third national lockdown brought with it a 50% + increase in  demand for our services across the board. I think the late changes to restrictions created a pressure cooker situation at home, which resulted in people reaching out for help and support over the Christmas period, which ordinarily in the past has been one of our quieter periods.

The impact of increased demand together with delays in our criminal justice system is resulting in increased caseloads for our Independent Sexual Violence Advocacy (ISVA) service. In December we received the highest number of referrals in the history of the service and sadly we now have in excess of 121 cases that are over two years old, with court cases now being scheduled for 2023.

Despite the increasing demands, we know there are still more people who are suffering in silence, who for whatever reason, do not reach out for support. Which is why we are launching a survey to help us understand what the barriers are and how we can improve our services still further to better meet people’s needs. We would be very grateful if you would give us a few minutes of your time to share your thoughts and complete the survey, the findings of which we will then share with you later in the spring.

In the meantime, thank you for your continued support, take care and stay safe.