County Labour Councillors provide £6,625 in Locality Budget funds to pay for long term counselling for women who are survivors of sexual violence.
Suffolk Rape Crisis was formed in 2010 by a small group of women in Suffolk following the murders of 5 women in Ipswich 2006. This group realised that there was no Rape Crisis provision for the women and girls of Suffolk since the previous Rape Crisis service was closed in 2006. Suffolk Rape Crisis started off with one phone line in a porter cabin on the grounds of St. Clements hospital.
SRC works to national service standards set by its umbrella organisation Rape Crisis England and Wales, providing independent specialist sexual violence services for women and girls aged 14 and over. The organisation provides: a helpline 2 evenings a week run by specialist trained volunteers; specialist counselling for 45 women a week in Ipswich, Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds: education work in schools and colleges; and seeks to amplify the voice of survivors of sexual violence through partnership working. It is the only provider of pre-trial therapy in Suffolk, and there is strong evidence that a survivors are more likely to continue through the criminal justice system when receiving such therapy.
However, this provision is not a statutory service, so SRC does not receive regular funding from Local or Central Government.
Senior Counsellor at Suffolk Rape Crisis Chris Nightingale says “Many women and girls come to us with complex issues that other agencies do not have the specialist expertise to deal with. The emotional and psychological impact of sexual violence has wider implications for individuals and communities, including family breakdown, an increased risk of offending and personal economic stability. The changes we see for women and girls as a result of our Counselling service are dramatic and positive. The money received from the County Councillors has made and will make an enormous difference”
Cllr Kathy Bole, Opposition Spokesperson for Equalities, said “At a time when the need for services like this is, unfortunately, only growing, the support provided by Suffolk Rape Crisis has an absolutely enormous impact on the individuals involved – empowering survivors to regain control of their lives after great trauma. I know I speak for the entire group of Labour Councillors when I say that we are delighted to provide these locality funds to support such vital work”