Number of women and girls referred to rape and sexual violence support charity nearly doubled last year

Katherine Johnston (18 March, 2019) Crime

Last year, more than 6,000 people called Rape Crisis South London's helpline

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An award-winning women’s charity helping victims of sexual violence across south London says demand for its services nearly doubled in three months last year.

Rape Crisis South London supports women and girls aged just five and above who have suffered any form of sexual violence.

Between July and September last year, it had 43 per cent more referrals than in the same period the year before. Last year, more than 6,000 people called its helpline.

The charity, which was announced as a winner of a prestigious impact award this month, says demand for its help is growing.

Although based in Croydon, the charity supports people living across south-east London in Southwark, Greenwich, Bexley and as far afield as Kingston.

They receive up to a year of counselling, and are supported as they navigate the justice system.

Last year, it offered more than 5,000 therapy sessions – eighteen per cent more than the previous year.

The charity works with women and girls from many different backgrounds, including migrant workers, sex workers, homeless women and women who have been in prison.

Around twenty per cent of women will experience some form of sexual assault from the age of sixteen and over, but only a very small number of them will report it to the police, or seek professional help.

The charity was selected as one of ten winners of a GSK IMPACT Award, and will receive £30,000 towards its work.

The award scheme, run in partnership by GSK and the King’s Fund, aims to recognise the work of smaller charities working in health and wellbeing, who have an annual income of less than £2.5 million.

The charity’s chief executive said: “On behalf of all my staff and our clients, I am deeply honoured to be recognised by GSK and The King’s Fund for the high quality work that we do.

“We strive for excellence to provide the best possible service for survivors who have been through the worse experiences of their lives and it is deeply gratifying to have our standards recognised by these two esteemed organisations.”

Katie Pinnock, director of UK and Ireland charitable partnerships at GSK, said: “Rape Crisis South London is doing vital work to support women and girls who have experienced sexual violence.

“The judges were particularly impressed with the charity’s comprehensive approach to offering support.

“The organisation listens to its clients’ needs and encourages them to take control of their own recovery.

“By offering up to a year of support and opening up services to women and girls of all ages, irrespective of how long ago they experienced rape or assault, the charity is having a huge impact on the lives of its clients.”

The charity will receive its prize at a formal ceremony held at the Science Museum in May.

To find out more about Rape Crisis South London’s work or to get help, visit www.rasasc.org.uk

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