Rape crisis centre re-launches

Jonathon Laurence 22 November 2007

Cambridge’s Rape Crisis centre is due to re-open on December 3rd. The service was shut down over the summer because of a lack of volunteers and funds, but has been relaunched following a campaign for support.

“The response has been amazing”, said Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) Women’s Officer Elly Shepherd, responsible for co-ordinating the drive to get the centre back. “There’s so many women who’ve got involved”, Shepherd added.

39 women have come forward to run the new service, which will run Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

The new centre will team up with Choices, another Cambridge service for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Shepherd said: “We decided that working together and putting these services in the same place would consolidate what is already there with the new service and make for better provision for survivors of rape and sexual abuse in future.

“We will be also working in partnership to enhance our services.”

A representative of Rape Crisis England and Wales pledged her support for the service. “It’s wonderful to see the relaunch of this centre. We just wanted to say how pleased we are – Cambridge has the full support of the national body in terms of strategy.

“It’s so good that the centre hasn’t just faded into distance”, she said.

Cambridgeshire police were dismayed by the centre’s closure and have given their backing to the new service.

Detective Inspector Melanie Dales said: “If it hadn’t been for the work of the volunteers there would be no rape crisis centre in Cambridge.

“As an organisation the police are very grateful to those volunteers for providing this invaluable service to provide care and support for victims of sexual offences.”

Jonathon Laurence