A County Durham sexual violence counselling centre has received a government grant to deliver bystander training to night-time workers in a push for safety on nights out.

Darlington and County Durham’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre (RSACC) has received the grant from the Ministry of Justice's safer streets fund, following a successful bid by the office of PCC Joy Allen. 

RSACC was founded in 1990, and provides free and confidential counselling and support to victims of sexual violence and abuse. It is a member of Rape Crisis England and Wales and part of its national network.

The Northern Echo: RSACC members outside the PCC office.RSACC members outside the PCC office. (Image: RSACC)

Over the next 15 months, the centre will now deliver training to Durham City workers in the form of one-hour workshops which include details on safe ways to intervene in sexual harassment incidents. 

Isabel Owens, RSACC's CEO said: "We are delighted that the PCC has been able to fund our Bystander Training, which will support the safety of women and girls on nights out in Durham City.

"Everyone has the right to feel safe but we know sexual harassment is a significant issue across our towns and cities.

"Our training will empower workers to identify and safely intervene in situations of sexual harassment to ensure people across Durham feel safe when they are out and about."


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Joy Allen, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner said: "Eradicating gender-based violence is a responsibility of society as a whole, and we all have our part to play.

"Through the roll out of bystander training, we will not only equip night-time economy workers with the skills they need to prevent harassment before it escalates into more serious sexual crimes, we will also send out a strong message to potential perpetrators that their behaviour will not be tolerated in our county.

"Violence against women and girls is never acceptable, and we all need to act to call out behaviour that falls short of the law, demonstrating by action that it has no place in our society."