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PCC supports new Rape Crisis Centre

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Rape Support Centre Infographic

Each year it’s estimated that over 10,500 women in Somerset, North Somerset, BANES and South Gloucestershire experience Rape and Sexual Violence but until now services have been limited or nonexistent – particularly for survivors of historic and childhood rape and sexual violence.

On Thursday 21 February the Ministry of Justice announced three years funding for ‘The Sulis Project’ which will fill the gap and provide essential services for women and girls across the four authorities.

Dawn Taylor SW Regional Development Worker, Bristol Rape Crisis: “It is critical that women and girls who experience sexual violence are able to receive specialised support when and where they need it in order to be able to rebuild and move forward with their lives. The vast majority of survivors do not report the offences against them to the police but still suffer the devastating consequences that can last for years and even decades.

We’re delighted that the Ministry of Justice is able to fund ‘The Sulis Project’ which will provide essential services for women who have experienced rape or sexual violence at any point in their life in Somerset, North Somerset, BANES and South Gloucestershire.

The three year funding commitment acknowledges the importance of ensuring services for all survivors and means that women will have access to locally based holistic services that meet their particular needs which, for too long, have been absent in these areas.”

We’ve named the project after the Romano-British deity Sulis who was worshiped at the thermal spring of  Bath and symbolised nourishment and life-giving.”

The new Rape Crisis Centre will provide safe and confidential support through a helpline, outreach support and counselling to help survivors regain their health and well-being complimenting and building on current services provided by The Bridge SARC and Safelink’s ISVA service.

1 in 5 women report having experienced sexual assault and overwhelmingly women state the need to have the choice of women-only support services.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said:  “I am thrilled that Rape Crisis has received funding for ‘The Sulis Project,’ and further independent support will be offered to women across the whole of Avon and Somerset. It is vital that women and girls who experience sexual violence are able to access services when and where they need them.”

Sarah Crew, Chief Superintendent, Rape Champion, Avon and Somerset Constabulary said: “Over the last five years we – in partnership with our partners in the NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector – have established excellent services for victims of rape and sexual assault; The Bridge Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Bristol which supports victims across the Avon and Somerset police area provides high quality crisis support, medical care and specialist counselling Safelink, which is a team of independent sexual violence advisors, also offer support and advice and advocacy services to people across the area. Both services are available to men, women and child victims irrespective of whether they wish to report a crime to the police.

We know that rape often goes unreported and that there are many victims in our communities that are not receiving the support they need so it is great news to hear that these new services will be opening soon. We see them as wholly complimentary and an enhancement. We have been supportive of Bristol Rape Crisis as they have developed these plans and are looking forward to working with them and ensuring that every victim in our area receives a service that is not only high quality but also tailored to their needs.”

The Rape Crisis Centre Infographic can be found here.

Posted on Friday 22nd February 2013
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