SOUTH Essex & Incest Crisis Centre (SERICC) attended a reception hosted by the HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House on Tuesday 5th February 2013. The reception was for those involved in supporting the victims of rape and sexual abuse.
Rape Crisis Centres not only provide a range of specialist services, they also constantly challenge the myths and attitudes that make it difficult for survivors of sexual violence to seek the support they want and deserve.
Since opening in 1984 SERICC has provided over 87,623 counselling and advocacy sessions for women and girls who have been raped, sexually assaulted, experienced child sexual abuse.
The Clarence House reception follows on from a personal visit that the Duchess made to SERICC in October 2011 at which she pledged her support in raising awareness of the issues surrounding sexual violence.
Reception guests were drawn from a cross-section of stakeholders and decision-makers within the UK.
The Duchess told those attending the reception: “I have spoken to many victims of sexual violence whose bravery in speaking out and sharing their stories has been truly humbling …….Perhaps from this small beginning we will be able to build a future where society will simply not tolerate rape and sexual abuse any longer”.
The reception was also attended by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and Keir Starmer, QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, as well as other Rape Crisis Centres in the UK that the Duchess had previously visited.
Sheila Coates SERICC’s Director said: “Last month the government revealed that over 400,000 women are sexual assaulted and 95,000 women are raped in this country every year. We were really pleased The Duchess chose to demonstrate her support for Rape Crisis and to shine a light on our work.
“It is important to highlight the injustice suffered by women and girls, who’ve survived sexual violence, yet are often made to suffer again by being disbelieved or blamed, not just in other countries, not just decades ago but here and now. We hope the time and commitment she has given to championing Rape Crisis work will emphasise to the public the importance of tackling sexual violence in all its forms”