Launch of new Rape Crisis service for East London

People who have experienced rape and sexual abuse can now benefit from a dedicated professional support service in East London.

Rape Crisis East London was launched today by Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of London for Policing, at Loxford Polyclinic, Redbridge.

The service caters for both men and women from seven East London boroughs, offering long-term support and counselling for those aged 14 and over who have been raped or sexually abused.

You can contact the service by phoning the London Rape Crisis helpline on 0808 802 9999. The phone line is open every day of the year from midday to 2.30pm and 7pm to 9.30pm.

The Deputy Mayor for Policing Kit Malthouse said: “Rape Crisis services can be a lifeline to women dealing with the long-term trauma of rape and sexual assault. Some women may suffer long-term anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder years after being attacked.

“The East London service will provide vital counselling and support, and is the third Rape Crisis service the Mayor has delivered in partnership with boroughs.”

The East London Rape Crisis service will cover the Boroughs of Hackney, Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Rape Crisis services are not places for people to report crimes or places of forensic investigation. They are designed for those who have been a victim of rape or sexual abuse, either recently or in the past, to get the support they need to help them deal with their traumatic experience.

Those who use the service do not need to have reported their experiences to the police and research shows that many victims contact such services years, or even decades after they have been raped or sexually abused.

The service is part of the Mayor’s plans to quadruple Rape Crisis provision in the capital. Previously the capital only had one Rape Crisis Centre meaning that residents from across the capital had to travel to Croydon to receive the support they need.

‘Ellie’ is a victim of sexual abuse who has benefited from the help of the Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (RASASC) in Croydon, she said, “I made the first phone call to RASASC in Sep 2007. I was unemployed and agoraphobic and my life was spiralling out of control.

“That day I was immediately reassured that, of all the professional services I had been referred to, this was the first place who actually got it; who actually understood what I was going through and what I needed. I saw a counsellor at RASASC every week for 12 months, and it is no overstatement to say that it saved my life.”

The new service will be provided by the nia project - an experienced charity dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment for women and children, who are escaping physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive of the nia project said, “Rape and sexual assault is much more common than most people believe and happens far more often than official statistics tell us. We hope that the new East London service will mean that fewer people suffer the trauma of rape and sexual abuse alone.

“The nia project welcomes the cross-borough partnerships which have enabled the provision of the four London Rape Crisis services.”

The new service will take a three-stranded approach to providing support across the seven partner Boroughs.

•Two hubs for face-to-face counselling in Hackney and Redbridge.
•A dedicated a phone line where victims can access phone support and information and advice about other services available to them.
•An outreach worker providing training and preventative services across the seven partner Boroughs as well as advocacy for those who have experienced rape and sexual abuse.

Councillor Sophie Linden, Cabinet Member for Crime, Sustainability and Customer Services at Hackney Council says: “The Council is committed to working with the nia project and neighbouring local authorities to help deliver this important service, which will provide care, advice and support to both Hackney residents and those living nearby who have been a victim of rape or sexual abuse. The Hackney centre is due to open at the end of this month, operating from the Women and Family service, and represents just one of a number of support mechanisms available to residents who have suffered or are suffering from violence or sexual assault.”