Money raised by this year’s Worcester Music Festival is set to help fund the launch of a new, county support service for children who have suffered sexual abuse.

Worcestershire Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre (WRSASC) has been chosen as the festival charity for 2015, benefitting from fundraising before and during the event from 18-20 September.

Since 1986, WRSASC has provided a free, confidential and non-judgmental support service for individuals aged over 16 who have experienced rape or sexual abuse at any time in their lives.

Now, WRSASC is looking to expand its own counselling service to provide much needed specialist therapeutic counselling to boys and girls aged 11+. These children are some of the most vulnerable people within society with many having been abused repeatedly, often by different perpetrators.

Siân Patterson, policy and sustainability officer for WRSASC, said: “We are so thrilled to be Worcester Music Festival’s charity of the year. While the money raised will obviously be extremely welcome, being part of an event we’ve watched grow and attract more and more interest every year is also an excellent way of raising awareness of what we do. A lot of people do not know we even exist and support from the festival will help enormously.”

Overall, the charity is reliant on funding from government, local authorities, charitable trusts, donors, organisations and individuals to cope with an annual increase in demand for its services.

However, despite its service statistics, national statistics and current media focus, sexual violence is still not recognised as a priority in any strategic document in Worcestershire.

Festival chairman Ant Robbins said: “We received some very compelling applications to become our charity this year, but we felt WRSASC was the strongest. Their desire to launch a service for younger people is something we feel festival-goers will particularly support and we look forward to working closely with the charity in the coming months.”

Worcester Music Festival is a free, annual music celebration to support and encourage live, local and original music from the county and across the UK and is staged in pubs, clubs, cafes, and historic buildings around or near the city centre. Festival events take place at over 30 venues, with a line-up in the region of 250 bands and musicians.

Since the festival was launched in 2008, it has raised more than £35,000 for charity.

For more on WRSASC, visit www.wrsasc.org.uk. For more on Worcester Music Festival, visit www.wumufest.co.uk and follow the fest on Twitter @worcsmusicfest.

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