Cumbrian MPs desperate to save rape crisis charity
Published at 11:25, Friday, 25 October 2013
Two west Cumbrian MPs have spoken out about the need to save a “lifeline” charity that helps victims of rape and sexual assault.
Rape Crisis Cumbria will close on November 15 unless fresh funding can be found to pay for its services.
Copeland MP Jamie Reed and Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham yesterday threw their weight behind the News & Star’s campaign to save the charity, which helps hundreds of victims across Cumbria.
The MPs spoke out as the charity said that the official police statistics for rape and sexual assaults in Cumbria represent only a “fraction” of those whose lives shattered by the crimes.
Mr Reed said: “Rape is a crime that changes the lives of its victims forever. It’s a sickening act.
“When we consider that access to public services in Cumbria is being eroded quickly through police station closures, court closures and Government cuts to council services, then all the evidence suggests that it is already too difficult for rape victims to access help.
“It’s also the case that in some parts of Cumbria there’s a significant degree of hidden domestic violence.
“These woman, as they overwhelmingly are, are being forced to live their lives in quiet crisis. We need to do more for these people, not less. It’s a measure of what kind of community we are.”
Sir Tony said: “It would be a disaster if Rape Crisis Cumbria were to close.
“They do vital work. Rape is one of the most awful crimes and the victims need support and counselling.”
The charity is currently helping hundreds of people across the county, and more than 50 of the 370 clients who are currently in direct contact with Rape Crisis Cumbria are men. A further 230 have been occasional contacts.
Official figures from Cumbria Constabulary show that last year there were 100 rapes reported in the county and 132 sexual assaults. But experts suggest that as many as seven times that number of serious sex crimes may go unreported for a variety of reasons.
Rebecca Todd, an independent sexual violence advisor with Rape Crisis Cumbria, said a significant number of its clients never report what happened to them to the police.
She said: “Fourteen per cent of our clients are male, yet only three or four of them have reported the crime to police.
“Around half of our clients are people who are part of an ongoing investigation, while the other half are considering reporting it.
“They all need support.The point is that the official figures represent only a tiny fraction of the people who have suffered in this way.”
The charity hopes to raise £25,000 over the next few weeks to buy the time it needs to continue to lobby for funding.
Rebecca said the impact of a rape or sexual assault is massive, often affecting a person profoundly for years. “Some of our clients are only midway through their recovery and it might be a number of years before we can get them anywhere near close to recovery.
“It’s quite alarming. There may be attempts by people on their lives. That is the depressing reality.”
In its official description of its work, the charity says: “Rape is a terrifying, violent, and humiliating experience. We help people to repair their psychological wounds and get their life back on track.”
Rape Crisis Cumbria has a team of three people, supported by 26 trained volunteers. The charity’s helpline number is 01900 829729.
If you can help Rape Crisis, contact the News & Star, or the charity via www.westcumbriarapecrisis.co.uk (The charity opearates across the county).
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you can help with a donation to pull Rape Crisis Cumbria back from closure, we want to hear from you.
Whether a concerned individual, a business, financial institution, philanthropic trust or fundraising organisation, your generosity could go a long way towards rebuilding hundreds of lives left broken by the terrible trauma of rape.
You can make a donation at www.westcumbriarapecrisis.co.uk
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
This whole situation is crap and Puting people's recovery back. Support is being taken away due to the pressure of funding with no notice. This has personally left me feeling suicidal and distraught. As for the clients who are telling their stories to newspapers I dread to think how they are feeling.
Would like to say a huge well done to t 26 volunteers who help this service. What incredible people everyone of them are and what a worthwhile thing they are doing. Hope this service continues.
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