A Coventry charity which has helped more than 76,000 people who have experienced rape and sexual abuse is celebrating providing 40 years of support.
The Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC) is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
In 2019/20 alone the charity supported 2,933 people, including 230 children and young people aged between five and 18.
CRASAC is now looking for volunteers to help complete 40 fundraisers to support the charity in reaching its target of raising £40,000 in 2021 to mark the milestone.
Those raising money on the organisation’s behalf can choose any activity, from sponsored walks and runs to online quizzes and head shaves.
Businesses are also being encouraged to consider CRASAC as their chosen charity for any fundraising initiatives being carried out this year.
CRASAC was established in 1981 to offer a telephone counselling service to those who had been sexually abused.
It was initially run by volunteers but in 1990 was able to employ two full-time members of staff and has since grown to employ more than 30 employees and many more volunteers.
It now provides a range of specialist support services including a helpline which has received almost 60,000 calls over the 40 years, as well as counselling, advocacy and outreach services.
Due to the pandemic, most services are currently being carried out online, over the phone and via email and text, with face-to-face sessions being held whenever possible.
CRASAC is now looking for fundraisers to support the charity in reaching its target of raising £40,000 to contribute to the continuation of services.
It is also taking on volunteers, with a number of opportunities available and full training provided.
Natalie Thompson, CEO of CRASAC, said:
“We are extremely proud to be celebrating our 40th year of providing specialist sexual violence services to people right across the city.
“The charity has grown considerably over the years which is testament to our extremely committed staff and volunteers who provide an invaluable service to those who have experienced rape and sexual abuse.
“We’re the only organisation to offer this kind of support in Coventry and have gone from receiving referrals in the 10s in the early days to helping thousands of people every year.
“Securing ongoing funding for a free service is a challenge, so we want to mark this milestone by holding 40 fundraisers in a bid to raise £40,000 and are looking for individuals and businesses to help by fundraising on our behalf.
“This could be anything from sponsored challenges to corporate events, and we’d urge anyone who would like to take part to get in touch.”
The charity has announced its 40th-anniversary fundraising drive during Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week in a bid to highlight the support that is available.
“There are a number of common myths around sexual violence that can deter people from finding help and support including that the perpetrators are mainly strangers, whereas in reality, 89 per cent of rape victims actually know them.
“The impact that sexual violence has on someone is emotional, physical and economical, and it can be life-threatening.
“We’re here to dispel the myths and provide specialist support to anyone that needs it, and despite the pandemic, we’re still here to help.”
Anyone who would like to hold a fundraiser on behalf of CRASAC is asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.crasac.org.uk/getinvolved
For help and support from CRASAC, visit www.crasac.org.uk or call the helpline on 02476 277777.