Security firm G4S has been appointed to operate two support centres for rape and sex attack victims in the West Midlands.
The international company, which was heavily criticised last year when it failed to meet its security obligations for the London 2012 Olympics, will manage sexual assault referral centres on Birmingham’s Castle Vale estate and in Walsall.
The centres will offer a range of support services without victims firstly having to report attacks to the police.
Trained G4S crisis workers will help man the centres, assisting with medical assessments and providing advice on options and follow-up services available.
They will be accessible 24 hours a day and sex crime victims will also be able to gain help via an online form and telephone helpline.
Gary Green, G4S managing director of forensic medical services, said: “G4S has been providing these kinds of medical services in the UK since 2005 and we are pleased to have been appointed to deliver this service in the West Midlands.
“The firm has worked with the NHS and police to create a service which delivers the very highest standards of care, while helping the police to protect the evidence they may need later to secure a conviction.
“Our dedicated and professional crisis workers are absolutely committed to looking after the needs of the victim and for the first time in the West Midlands people who come forward to report rape and sexual assaults will have a specially trained advocate focussed solely on their welfare.”
The services, which were previously led by police, have been commissioned by the Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country NHS Team and the contract with G4S runs for three years.
Wendy Saviour, area director for Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country area team, said: “We are very pleased to be working with G4S to be able to provide people who have experienced a sexual assault with easy access to high quality care.
“For the first time people will be able to contact the service directly, through a dedicated website or phone number, with no need for a referral from the police.
“The centre will offer access to physical and emotional care for victims of sexual assault, working together with a range of local specialist organisations.”
The services can be accessed: online: www.horizonsarc.org.uk, telephone: 0808 168 5698 (24/7 number, which can be also be contacted by friends and families of victims) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org