Suffolk Rape Crisis support icon

 

Who we are, what we do & how we work

We use the word survivor to describe women and girls who have experienced rape or sexual abuse because to 'survive' means to 'continue to live'. The word "victim" makes invisible the other side of our response to rape and sexual violence - the active and positive ways in which we resist, cope and survive. 

 

 In 2010 a small group of women started Suffolk Rape Crisis following the realisation that there was no Rape Crisis provision for the women and girls of Suffolk: the previous Rape Crisis service in Suffolk had closed in 2006. The centre started off with one phone line in a porter cabin on the grounds of St. Clements hospital. We now host two helpline telephone lines that simultaneously take calls from survivors twice a week. The provision includes emergency advice and support for women and girls who have been recently raped or sexually assaulted, as well as support for women who have experienced childhood sexual abuse.

We have also been able to set up an excellent Counselling service which supports survivors in Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds and Lowestoft. Women and girls are to receive free face to face counselling for up to 26 weeks.

We offer specialist ‘Pre Trial Therapy’ counselling if you are going through the Criminal Justice System.

Our counsellors are fully qualified, registered with either BACP/UKCP and are experienced in working with survivors of sexual violence.

 

Suffolk Rape Crisis is mainly staffed by volunteers who give up their time to train and to run the helplines. It operates stringent equality monitoring both in its staffing and its volunteer policy as well as in its service provision, and it aims to reach all parts of the community as part of its inclusive philosophy. We currently employ a Project Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Counselling
Coordinator, a full time counsellor, five sessional Counsellors and an Admin and Finance Coordinator.

Our service is open to all women

We will support any women or girl (aged14 years and older) who feels she needs our service. Women and girls call us days, weeks, months and even years after the assault. It is never too late to talk about the impact of sexual violence.
Suffolk Rape Crisis provides a women-only space, for women and girls to feel safe, heard, overcome stigma, and to talk about their experiences without fear and judgement. Through engaging with Rape Crisis services women are given the possibility to explore their options, to seek justice, to take back control of their lives and to repair the harms violence has caused them. Through its counselling services and through the associated signposting and referral of women to other organisations which may help them, Suffolk Rape Crisis aims to empower women who have experienced rape and other forms of sexual violence, and to help them live healthier, more rewarding lives. Furthermore, Suffolk Rape Crisis believes that through healing, and through improving their skills and confidence, these women will strengthen themselves to become more active citizens and will thereby go on to help strengthen their communities.

What we mean by confidential

We will not repeat anything you tell us to anyone outside of Rape Crisis: we will however discuss our work with the whole Suffolk Rape Crisis team. This is to get ideas and support from each other and to develop our work. We also hope that this will help us provide a better service to our callers, as it means that you will not have to keep repeating things you have already told us.

We do not report anything you tell us to the police or any other outside body. The only exception to this is if we are told things which we have a legal duty to report -child protection issues for example.  

We collect anonymous information for statistical purposes: this helps us to provide evidence of the need for our service to potential funders. However, no information is ever disclosed that would enable individual callers to be identified.


Referrals

Part of healing for a survivor of sexual violence is about relearning to take control of her own life, which is why we believe self-referral is so important. Sometimes, because they understandably want to help a survivor, family and friends suggest she contact us; occasionally they put pressure on her to do so. But coping with trauma is an individual process for every survivor, and so it's essential that she be allowed to follow her own path of healing.
We will always be glad to talk to family and friends to help them find appropriate ways to provide support.