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30 years of The Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre, Guildford

30 years of The Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre, Guildford

In 1992, staff at a Surrey-based sexual health clinic identified a need for a specialist service in the area for survivors of rape and sexual abuse, leading to the establishment of The Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Guildford, supporting all survivors over the age of 13 across Surrey.

Initially obtaining funding to establish a helpline, our first volunteers were recruited in 1993, and the helpline launched in September of that year. 1995 saw the launch of our face-to-face counselling service and the following year we expanded the helpline to five evenings a week. In 2010, thanks to Home Office funding, we recruited our first Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA).

30 years later and RASASC has continued to grow.

The need for our services is still just as great, and in 2021/22 we provided 4,068 free counselling sessions, supported 767 clients through our ISVA service, and took 1,083 calls on our confidential helpline.

RASASC Chief Executive Officer, Lesley Devonport says: “RASASC has grown and changed greatly since we were established in 1992 and in that time, there have been challenges we could never have foreseen, notably the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which forced us to adapt our services to ensure we could continue to support survivors remotely.

All RASASC services are free and non-judgemental, and RASASC supports all survivors over the age of 13 from across Surrey regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability. We support survivors whether they choose to report to the police or not, or whether the incident happened recently or many years ago.

To help mark our 30th birthday, we’d like to ask supporters to take on our 30 for 30 Challenge. The idea is really simple – do 30 things with the aim of raising £30 for RASASC! What you choose to do is up to you – you could bake 30 cakes, run 30 laps of your garden, score 30 goals or swim 30 lengths – the important bit is to get sponsored for doing it and see if you can raise £30 towards our vital work supporting survivors of rape and sexual abuse across Surrey. Click here to see our 30 for 30 Challenge Video.

“There has also been, in recent years, a swell of coverage in the media around high-profile rape and sexual abuse cases, which has bought with it an increased demand for services that offer support for survivors, such as ours. To help us meet this demand, we need your help. Could you take on our 30 for 30 Challenge to help us to continue to be there for everyone that needs us?”

Participants can take on their challenges at any time during 2022, so there’s plenty of time to get involved. For inspiration and ideas on how to get started, plus a downloadable sponsorship form, visit: www.rasasc.org/30-years-of-rasasc  or email: events@rasasc-guildford.org.

For more information or interviews, contact kate@rasasc-guildford.org or call 07511 403034

This blog post was written by Kate Whittaker, Communications and Engagement Manager at RASASC Guildford

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