OUR VISION & ETHOS
An organisation dedicated to supporting women and girls who have survived sexual violence in our community.
SOS Rape Crisis is a feminist organisation. We advocate the rights and equality of women and girls and work on the basis that sexual violence is a fundamental infringement of a women’s human rights. We reject the myths surrounding rape and sexual violence, which only make it harder for survivors to deal with their experiences and seek help. A woman is never to blame for being raped. It is our core belief that sexual violence is preventable. By challenging the social and cultural norms that contribute to sexual violence through education and awareness raising we can reduce violence against women. Gender-based violence requires a gender-specific response. We take a women-centred approach, putting women at the centre, responding to her individual needs and advocating wider social change. We believe that sexual violence against women and girls is both a cause and a consequence of a deep-rooted gender inequality in our society, which denies women equal rights with men. Sexual violence against women feeds off this discrimination and service to reinforce it. It is an abuse of power and control. There is an inherent imbalance of power between men and women within our society and when a woman is abused, this imbalance is both manifested and reinforced. The service that we provide will be in response to what women and girls say they want or need, and empower women to have greater control and choice in their lives. We are a pro-choice organisation respecting a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her life, her body, her sexuality and her lifestyle. We seek to work with all women in ways that demonstrate quality, respect, and care; to be an organisation that is accepting of difference (disability, race, sexuality, class, background, faith, lifestyle etc) and to be non-judgmental. We work to provide information resources that can be used by all women to help themselves. We are a pro-woman organisation, not anti-man. We respect women’s relationships with men and recognise and support men’s actions to redress their own society’s oppression of women. A high-quality service—effective management which values and supports its staff and volunteers enables us to provide a high-quality support service to women and children in the local area. Through the provision of information, support and counselling by appropriately skilled staff in a safe and confidential environment we can help women to move forward and take control of their lives. Survivors voice—we encourage a woman to speak about her experiences; we listen without judgment and believe her story. We take a survivor-led approach; we will not attempt to advise, direct or persuade. Empowerment—we believe in empowering the survivor. She is the expert on what is the best way to deal with and move on from her experience. We will respect her choices and support her in her decisions. A gender-specific response—our services are run by women for women in a safe, women-only space. We believe that this is the most appropriate and helpful environment for the women and girls we support.
Relieve the sickness and distress of survivors who have suffered any form of sexual violence.
Promote education and research in the subject of rape, and its effects on the survivor, whether physical, medical, psychological, or social.
Train women as counsellors so as to be able to cope with the problems of rape victims by the provision of medical, legal, and emotional counselling.
Publish educative and informative material about rape.
Obtain help and support where needed through close contact with government authorities, health services, and voluntary organisations.
Set up a coordinated group of contacts to further the charitable aims and objectives of the charity.
Raise money for the purpose of the charity on such terms and on such security as may be thought fit.
Accept donations and legacies.
Aid in the establishment and support of any association whose charitable purposes are, in any way, connected with the purposes of the charity, or calculated to further its objectives.
Do all such things as are necessary for the attainment of the above objectives.
SOUTHEND-ON-SEA RAPE CRISIS
SOS Rape Crisis is part of the Essex Rape Crisis Partnership. The Partnership is made up of three centres SOS Rape Crisis, SERICC, and CARA. SOS Rape which covers the areas of Southend on Sea, Castle Point, and Rochford is an accredited member of National Rape Crisis England and Wales. This means that the services we provide to survivors and relatives of survivors are to a quality assured standard.
Our staff member at SOS Rape Crisis include: Service Manager, Referral and Information Coordinator, Specialised Sexual Violence Counsellors, Specialised Young Persons and Children’s Play Therapists, Women and Men Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs), Children’s Independence Sexual Violence Advocates (CHISVAs), Groups Facilitators for Young People, and Adults Volunteers.
NATIONAL RAPE CRISIS
FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT RAPE CRISIS
RAPE & SEXUAL ABUSE SUPPORT CENTRE (RASASC) NATIONAL FREEPHONE HELPLINE
0808 802 99 99 FREEPHONE 12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm Every Day of the Year
RAPE & SEXUAL ABUSE SUPPORT CENTRE (RASASC)
RASASC is based in South London and offers a free phone number for their telephone helpline service. The telephone number will not appear on callers’ bills. It is also free from the main six UK mobile networks – 3, Orange, Virgin, Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2. The helpline is open every day of the year, including weekends and bank holidays, from 12-14:30 and in the evening from 19–21:30, taking calls nationally from female and male survivors as well as non-abusing families, partners, friends and other agencies.
ABOUT RAPE CRISIS ENGLAND & WALES
Rape Crisis formed as a co-ordinating group in 2003 and registered as a charity, Rape Crisis England & Wales (RCEW) in February 2007 to promote the needs of women and girls who have experienced sexual violence, improve services to them and work towards the elimination of sexual violence. Rape Crisis England & Wales are an umbrella body working to coordinate and support a network of independent affiliated Rape Crisis Centres (RCCs) across England and Wales. They campaign to raise awareness, improve the response of Government and other organisations and challenge public attitudes about the acceptability of sexual violence. Rape Crisis member centres acknowledge all forms of sexual violence, including; rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape in marriage, forced marriage, and so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking and sexual exploitation; ritual abuse and sexual harassment, irrespective of whether the violence is from known or unknown perpetrators. Rape Crisis Centres provide crucial frontline support and independent advocacy for all women of all ages who have experienced any form of sexual violence both recently and/or in the past; they are community-based and independent of government and the criminal justice system. The first Rape Crisis Centre opened in 1973; Centres now offer a wide range of specialist support and information for women and girl survivors, families, friends and professionals including helplines, face-to-face counselling and support, group work, advocacy (such as supporting women to access the criminal justice system or housing), practical support and supervision for other agencies. Member Centres provided dedicated space for women and girls and services are delivered free of charge, in confidence, in a safe and non-threatening environment. They work to feminist principles, recognising that gender-based violence is a cause and consequence of gender inequality, and it requires a gender-specific, evidence-based response. Achieving real equality means tackling the structural inequality and privilege that is embedded in society and in gender relations. Member Centres adhere to a statement of Common purpose which promotes dedicated services for women and children as a way of challenging structures which have historically discriminated against women and children, and provide the most effective care and services. Rape Crisis groups are autonomous but have come together to work under the umbrella of Rape Crisis England and Wales through a regional network of Rape Crisis Centres to share information, expertise and provide a voice to women and girls both on a regional and national level.
The Essex Partnership of Rape Crisis Centres work to raise awareness, prevent and reduce sexual violence through the provision of high-quality services. Our services are continually evolving in order to respond to the needs of individuals who have experienced sexual violence. Synergy Essex works in partnership with centres in Southend-on-Sea, Grays, and Colchester by doing this we can ensure there are services provided across Essex. To find out more please visit www.synergyessex.org.uk
THE QUEEN'S AWARD
SOS Rape Crisis, a group of volunteers and staff based in Southend, Rochford, and Castle Point have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Representatives from SOS Rape Crisis attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
SOS Rape Crisis is one of 281 charities, social enterprises, and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteers helping people overcome mental health problems through sport, volunteers using caravans as mobile cafe/information centres in geographically remote locations, and another group mentoring children who have a parent in prison.
SOS Rape Crisis policy is not to provide support to people who disclose, or have been accused of or investigated for sexual or violent offences. However, in exceptional circumstances, the centre may decide to offer support to clients who fall into this category. Decisions on whether support will be offered will be made on a case-by-case basis, and will be at the discretion of the centre.