A CHARITY will be able to fund a specialist to support teenage victims of sexual abuse thanks to a £72,000 donation from Essex Freemasons.

The Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse (CARA) will use the cash to cover the cost of providing therapeutic support to help young people of all genders move forward from trauma they have experienced.

The grant, which was given via the Masonic Charitable Foundation, is one of the largest handed out to one single organisation.

Paul Reeves, Deputy Provincial Grand Master for Essex, said this showed the importance of the work CARA undertakes in north and mid Essex.

He said: “The work undertaken by CARA is incredible and we are delighted to be able to support this excellent charity.

“CARA is a lifeline for vulnerable victims of sexual violence and child sexual abuse, helping to rebuild lives and we know that money from Essex Freemasons will make a real difference.”

The charity has provided a counselling service for young people who have been victims of sexual violence or child sex abuse since 2009.

However, demand over the last four years has increased by 163per cent, with the number of referrals increasingly from 105 in 2014 to 276 in 2018.

At the moment waiting times are as high as four-and-a-half months, but Essex Freemasons’ funding will help significantly reduce this.

Helen Parr, a director of CARA, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Freemasons for recognising the importance of the specialist support we provide to young victims of sexual violence and child sexual abuse and providing a grant that will help fund our work in Colchester and Tendring for a full three years.”

The new young person’s practitioner is a fully qualified counsellor and will work one day a week from each of the CARA premises in Harwich, Clacton and Colchester.