Rape Crisis Service Returns to Leeds

Tagged as: feminism gender helpline rape_crisis sexual_violence support
Neighbourhoods: leeds
Published by group: GroupBradford Feminist Group

Today (Wednesday 7th April 2010) the new Leeds Rape Crisis helpline will open at 6pm.

The service, Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds (SARSVL), is currently run entirely by volunteers and paid for by fundraising.

From the 7th April 2010 the helpline opening hours are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 6pm until 8pm.
The helpline number is 0113 202 1844. The helpline is open to women and girls of all ages.

SARSVL Website |  SARSVL Launch Event |  Rape Crisis England & Wales | The Reality of Rape: An Account | Sexual Harrassment in Public Spaces | Myths About Rape

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After a successful launch event on 17th March, which raised over £500, the helpline service will open its telephone line today.

SARSVL is part of the larger network of Rape Crisis Centres throughout England and Wales which seek to provide support for women and girls who have been affected by rape and sexual violence. Rape Crisis Centres have been providing this important service since 1976. A Rape Crisis service was running in Leeds until 8 years ago, when it encountered difficulties and folded. Since it closed in 2002 there's been no specialist sexual violence service for women and girls in Leeds.

The SARSVL helpline will provide a listening line to support women and girls who have experienced rape and sexual violence at any time in their lives. Entirely made up of volunteers, the helpline will be staffed by those who have been on an 8 week training course.

The helpline is confidential and will not give advice or encourage women and girls to report to the police. The service will, however, provide space for callers to explore the actions they could take and use self-determination to find out what they want to do and how they can be supported by other services, as well as by SARSVL.

Once the organisation has charitable status and access to funding it hopes to be able to offer more services for women and girls who have experienced sexual violence. The amazing services provided by Bradford Rape Crisis, which include face-to-face counselling and a specialised helpline service for Black and Minority Ethnic women are what SARSVL would like to be able to also provide to communities in Leeds.

Funding for Rape Crisis Centres in the UK is poor. Services are not centrally funded and are not part of other welfare services such as the NHS. This recent video from the Guardian highlights how important Rape Crisis Centres are to users and the poor manner in which they are supported by the government. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/video/2010/jan/06/rape-survivors-crisis-centres) (This link will take you to the Guardian website. Please be warned they are going to advertise at you, and might be logging data about you.)
Funding cuts and a general lack of support from national and local authorities has meant that the number of Rape Crisis Centres has dropped from 68 in 1984 to only 38 today. Nine have closed in the past 5 years.

SARSVL is run completely by volunteers. If you would like to volunteer to work on the helpline or help the organisation in another way, e.g. fundraising, please email info.sarsvl@googlemail.com

Below is a list of the Rape Crisis services available in the north of england, we list only their name, telephone number and website (if available). Most of these centres also offer face to face counselling and support. Please only call these numbers if you want support. If you want to volunteer with that specific service please seek out their office contact through Rape Crisis England and Wales

If you want to talk to someone now about rape or sexual violence, but a local helpline is not open, you can leave a message on the 24 hour answer phone and you will be called back.

Alternatively, Croydon Rape Crisis are open every day of the year, their phone number is 0808 802 9999 and their opening hours are:
Weekdays 12 noon to 2.30 pm and 7 pm to 9.30 pm
Weekends and public holidays 2.30 pm to 5 pm
Answerphone available out of hours.

Leeds - SARSVL (women and girls)
0113 202 1844

Bradford - BRC&SASS
01274 308270

Barnsley - BSARCH
01226 298560

Merseyside - RASA
0151 666 1392

Chesire and Merseyside - RASASC (women and men)
01925 221546

Chester - CSVSS (women and girls only)
01244 317922

Doncaster - DRASACS
01302 328555

Kirklees - KRASACC (women and men)
01484 450040

Manchester - MRC (women and girls only)
0161 273 4500

Redcar, Cleveland - Eva (women and girls only)
01642 835079

Sheffield - SRASACS (women and girls only)
0114 2447936

Tyneside - TRCC (women and girls only)
0191 232 9858

West Cumbria - WCRC (women and men)
01900 829729