About WMRSASC

Providing specialist support when it’s needed, for as long as it’s needed.

WMRSASC was first formed in 1986, initially started as drop-in centre for women.

Our primary aim has always been to provide support, information and advocacy to female victims and survivors of sexual violence. Over recent years WMRSASC has expanded some of its service provision to support men and boys but the provision of, and importance of, women only spaces, has been maintained. This is because WMRSASC recognises that sexual violence is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality within our society and so is a crime that disproportionately affects women and girls.

WMRSASC’s services are provided from a feminist and human rights perspective and are designed to ensure the well-being, health and mental health effects of sexual violence and abuse are addressed in a safe service and victims and survivors are enabled to regain critical power and control lost through their experiences of sexual violence and abuse.

We provide face-to-face counselling for survivors over the age of 11, an Independent Sexual Violence Advocacy Service for survivors over the age of 5, a signposting service and internal and external training.

We have a proven track record of delivering high quality, well-used support services and developing innovative, new services. WMRSASC has established firm links with many local, regional and national agencies. Staff regularly attend partnership and network meetings, contribute to a wide range of forums and strategic alliances and provide specialist advice on rape and sexual violence issues.

We also work with a range of agencies and staff who frequently come into contact with survivors of rape and sexual violence in both the Statutory and Voluntary sectors, or who are based in agencies that can provide practical support. Partnership arrangements are regularly reviewed to ensure partnership working is effective and offers the best outcomes for survivors. The Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) work closely with the criminal justice system and are well placed to signpost and support clients in wider society.

Sexual violence, including childhood sexual abuse, negatively impacts on physical health, reproductive health, sexual health and mental health. It can cause anxiety and depression, sleep problems, nightmares and flashbacks, low self-esteem and lack of confidence, self-harm including drug and alcohol abuse and dependence, self-injury and eating disorders, suicide, chronic physical pain, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy and medical problems. It is linked with homelessness, unemployment, criminalisation, interrupted education and training, relationship issues and re-victimisation. It requires specialist support services.

Rape and childhood sexual abuse are isolating crimes. Survivors often report feeling “different, not normal”. Their ability to function day-to-day is diminished and many clients report experiencing difficulty with relationships and work. A high percentage of clients also report problems sleeping, many related to anxiety, panic attacks and nightmares. Many survivors of sexual violence are repeatedly victimised. The impact of sexual violence and the failure to address the underlying issues has wider consequence for our communities and society at large. Despite progress in the criminal justice process over recent years it is still estimated that up to nine in ten cases of rape go unreported and 38% of serious sexual assault victims tell no one about their experience.

We are here to provide support for change

Our Values

Integrity

We are ethical and respectful at all times, inspiring trust from our clients and each other, consistently delivering our commitments by standing our ground and challenging inappropriate behaviour and injustice.

Empowerment

We take responsibility for our own actions, supporting others to do the same by developing our own skills and abilities and fostering the same sense of self care and self-worth in our clients and each other.

Accountability

We are accountable in our own decision-making processes for continual improvements in the services we offer. We collaborate with partners and listen to the voice of our service users to ensure that we offer the best service we can.

Our Philosophy

We are here to listen – not to work miracles.

We are here to help a survivor discover what they are feeling – not to make their feelings go away.

We are here to help a survivor identify their options – not to make decisions for them.

We are here to discuss steps with a survivor – not to take the steps for them.

We are here to help a survivor discover their own strength – not to rescue them and leave them still vulnerable.

We are here to help a survivor discover they can help them self – not to take responsibility for them.

We are here to help a survivor choose – not to keep them from making difficult choices.

We are here to provide support for change.