I've known about this for a few days but it's been strictly embargoed. Now it's appeared in the local press etc I can share.
Sinaed Gibson and I were told in my front room on a conference call on Tuesday and we were both pretty emotional about it, although a bit shell shocked too. There's been a huge campaign locally in support of this and I hope that we will be able to build on this to really support this new centre - I'll share more details once I've had advice from Reading Voluntary Action!
EMBARGOED UNTIL 12.00AM 22ND FEBRUARY, 2013
PRESS RELEASE – PAGE 1 OF 2
New Rape Support Centre for Reading and Berkshire
The Survivors Trust is delighted to have been awarded funding to set up a new rape support centre in Reading and Berkshire under the Coalition Government’s commitment to open 15 new rape support centres.
Fay Maxted, Chief Executive Officer of The Survivors Trust, says:
“Our mapping exercise revealed that there is huge need for specialist rape and sexual abuse support service in Reading and Berkshire for victims and survivors as the incidence of rape and sexual abuse is on the higher side and at the same time there is no specialist third sector support available locally. In 2011-12 there were 743 reported cases rape and sexual violence in Berkshire but as we know that the vast majority of victims, up to 85%, do not report the offences against them, the actual numbers would be much higher. The impact of sexual violence can be devastating for the individual and also for their families and friends. The aftermath of sexual rape and sexual assault can affect emotional, psychological, physical and mental wellbeing and can last for months, years or even a lifetime if appropriate counselling and support cannot be found. To bridge this gap in service provision we applied for the Ministry of Justice funding and are delighted to have the opportunity.”
The new rape support centre will be developing its services over the next three years to offer specialist counselling, support and advocacy to women, men, young people and children who have been raped or sexually abused either recently or in the past.
Reading and Berkshire Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre will offer a helpline, specialist sexual violence counselling, emotional and practical support for anyone whose life has been affected by rape or sexual abuse at any time. It is anticipated that the centre will be launched in January 2014.
Namita Prakash, Regional Development Manager for The Survivors Trust, says:
“In Reading and Berkshire there are no specialist third sector providers of counselling, help and support services to victims/survivors of rape and sexual abuse. Many victims have been unable to find help and support at their time of need and many have continued to suffer alone and in silence. I am looking forward to working with partner agencies and developing new working relationships to establish a survivor focused, comprehensive and responsive service, based in Reading and working across Berkshire.”
Immediate plans for establishing the new centre involve securing appropriate premises in Reading, recruiting and training staff and volunteers.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the new centre, its services and development, please contact Namita Prakash on 07791567155 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For more information about The Survivors Trust please see www.thesurvivorstrust.org .
PAGE 2 OF 2
Information for Editors
The Survivors Trust is a national umbrella agency for 150 rape and sexual abuse support services throughout the UK and Ireland.
Our Trustee Board is exclusively made up of Managers and Directors of rape and sexual abuse support services. Our core aim is to empower survivors or rape, sexual violence or childhood sexual abuse through supporting and improving effective responses to survivors. Member organisations provide a range of direct services to survivors including counselling, support, helplines and advocacy services for women, men and children.
We provide support and networking for member agencies; deliver accredited training; raise awareness about rape and sexual abuse and its effect on supervisors, their support and society at large; promote effective responses to rape and sexual abuse on a local, regional and national level.
TST supports working in ways that recognise human rights and dignity; demonstrate understanding of the role of gender in the impact of sexual violence and abuse on women and men; appreciate the variety of human experience and culture; demonstrate a commitment to showing justice in dealing with all others; and encourage development and improvement of responses to all survivors.
The TST Mission Statement:
We believe that the rape and sexual violence of children and adults is endemic within our society. Together we are committed to empowering survivors and their supporters to work through and beyond the experience of abuse.
The TST Core Belief:
We believe that the sexual abuse and/or rape of girls, boys, women and men is preventable and we challenge society to acknowledge both its reality and our individual and collective responsibility for it.
The TST Core Aims:
To support and empower survivors of rape, sexual violence and/or childhood sexual abuse through
- Providing a collective voice and peer networking for members;
- Raising awareness about sexual abuse and/or rape and its effects on survivors, their supporters and society at large
- Informing acknowledgement of, and effective responses to, rape and sexual abuse on a local, regional and national level
TST has also been awarded funding to set up Rape and sexual abuse support centre in Dorset and mid-Wales. Both the centres are operational now and provide critical support services to its catchment area.
Regional Development Manager