A GROUP which works with victims and survivors of sexual violence and child abuse has been handed a £124,000 boost.

The Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse was will use the cash to target about 20 schools across north and mid Essex in a bid to help teachers and youngsters combat sexual violence.

Dubbed the Healthy Sexual Relationships project, centre bosses also hope the scheme could stop sexual violence from happening in the first place.

Ali Foxford, who has been young person’s practitioner at Cara for a decade, will lead the project.

She said: “I’m very excited about the new project.

“It’s a real opportunity to genuinely improve things for young people.

“By helping them to understand sexual violence, we can start to prevent it happening in the first place and by working with schools, colleges and community groups we can create a more positive culture - one where sexual violence isn’t tolerated or accepted and where victims and survivors are believed, supported and treated with fairness and respect.

“We are grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for supporting us in this new and exciting project.”

As part of the scheme, experts will work with teachers and other school staff to make sure victims get the support they need.

They will also hold sexual violence prevention workshops with a focus on young people’s understanding of issues such as consent, sexualisation, social media, pornography and what makes up a healthy and respectful sexual relationship.

The trailblazing project will be launched on June 1 and schools, colleges and youth groups which want to get involved should contact Cara directly on 01206 367881 or by e-mailing info@caraessex.org.uk.

For more information on this and other issues, go to caraessex.org.uk.