Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Rape Crisis Centre Faces Closure in London

These places need funds, you know. This is just awful. As Amelia points out, Rape Crisis centres are often ignored and forgotten about, deemed unimportant until another woman is attacked and needs their help. When this service is gone, where will survivors go for help? No-where else offers the specialised care that they do:

Because we are in the voluntary sector, everyone thinks that we are working for free, and that we are middle-aged, middle-class women who want to help these poor victims. The reality is that our eight, paid counsellors are highly trained members of staff, with degrees and diplomas in counselling and sexual violence training. Some have master's, all have thousands of hours of experience. We are working at a level equivalent to that provided by the NHS or higher.

The NHS doesn't offer specialist rape crisis assistance. They offer short-term courses, but women who may have been abused for 10 or 15 years when they were children may find that six weeks of counselling is not enough. Sometimes we work with people for up to a year. Last year we saw 320 women, but also offered emergency couselling and a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week telephone helpline.

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