STARS - Sexual Trauma and Recovery Service Our Community Hero in the Spotlight for February is Sexual Trauma and Recovery Service (STARS) to mark the importance of raising awareness of sexual violence as it is, for many, a difficult subject to talk or even think about. STARS offers one to one support, free of charge, for anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse and lives in Dorset. The charity provides several different types of support including an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Service, Counselling, a Children and Young People’s Service and Support Line. STARS aims: To empower and enable anyone, of any age or gender who has suffered from any sort of sexual violence or rape, or is supporting a survivor, to work with the trauma they have experienced and gain health to live their lives as they would wish. To relieve the trauma, whether psychological, emotional, social or physical of persons and their families who have experienced or otherwise suffered as a result of rape, other sexual assault, sexual / domestic abuse, sexual exploitation or sexual harassment of any kind by providing support, help or assistance of any kind. To advance the education of the public in the subject of rape, sexual/ domestic abuse, sexual exploitation or sexual harassment and/ or psychological, physical, emotional or social impact on women, men and children by such means as the trustees see fit. STARS’ Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) are free and confidential. An ISVA will tailor support to individual needs, provide impartial information, ensure the safety of the survivor and any dependents, attend meetings and help develop a support plan with the client. If the client decided to report to the police, they will be supported throughout the whole process. Thanks to this service, the highest overall number of clients being supported by the service during this time period was 255 and STARS was successful in obtaining 12 guilty verdicts with some good sentencing outcomes. Actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, who became the first STARS Dorset Patron; has said: “I have seen for myself the huge amounts of women, men and children that you help every single day and am so proud to be a small part of the work that you do by calling myself your Patron.” STARS-Dorset works with well trained counsellors who help clients through psycho-education to understand the impact of their trauma on their brain and their body, giving them control and choice. Recently STARS launched its merchandise collection around the theme of ‘consent’ hoping that the designs will provoke conversation and will help raise important funds for the charity and those it supports. All the merchandise are available to view and buy now, please follow the link: https://stars-dorset.teemill.com Simone Gosden, Operations Manager at STARs joined our Partnerships Manager, Emma Lee, on Hope FM with Blair Crawford sharing more about the organisation. You can listen here to Simone and Emma talking to Blair about our Community Hero in the Spotlight initiative and the amazing work they are doing.