THE Seafarers’ Charity has announced funding for a new service aimed at supporting women seafarers who have experienced sexual trauma while working at sea.
Salute Her which operates internationally, is set to receive funding over a two-year period to deliver their women-centric therapy and trauma counselling to women seafarers and women working in fishing.
Salute Her is a relatively new charity which emerged as a gender-specific response to support female veterans who had experienced sexual trauma during their military service. The Seafarers’ Charity’s funding will enable Salute Her to expand its therapy services to women working at sea. At Salute Her, women can choose from a range of therapeutic activities – workshops, courses, groups and individual counselling or mental health therapy delivered either face-to-face or virtually. The service can be accessed by women in the UK or internationally. As well as offering therapeutic services, Salute Her actively campaign for ‘gender specific’ physical and mental health support services and trauma-informed care for women who have lived experience of bullying, harassment, discrimination and sexual abuse.
Trauma counselling can help women to deal with the trauma they feel following experiences of violence or harassment at work. Trauma counselling can be delivered 1-2-1 or in group therapy and either face-to-face or virtually. Salute Her is experienced in the provision of counselling which is female-focused and sensitive to different religions and cultures. They will be providing needs-led, wrap-around, holistic care to women in a single-sex environment.
Trauma counselling can help with stabilisation after trauma as well as help manage anxiety and depression. It includes teaching self-coping strategies and skills to help a woman feel safe in the future. This is a vital help for a woman who has been subject to sexual violence or abuse as it can help a woman to cope and return to work sooner, rather than risk deteriorating mental health.
The funding announcement from The Seafarers’ Charity of this new service for women seafarers is in response to evidence revealed in a recent research report on ‘The ‘Port-Based Welfare Needs of Women Seafarers‘ by Professor Helen Sampson and Dr Iris Acejo at Cardiff University’s Seafarers International Research Centre. The research, funded by The Seafarers’ Charity, revealed female seafarers’ experience of isolation and fear of sexual assault within the male-dominated work environment of a cargo ship. International maritime welfare charities will discuss the research at a webinar hosted in partnership with The Seafarers’ Charity and ICMA. The webinar on Supporting Welfare of Women Seafarers will explore what more maritime charities can do to support the welfare needs of female seafarers.
Deborah Layde, Chief Executive at The Seafarers’ Charity and Chair of Maritime UK’s Women In Maritime Network said:
“The Seafarers’ Charity’s funded research on the welfare needs of women working on cargo ships provided evidence of women’s experiences onboard and their fear for their physical safety. Our funding of this new trauma counselling service for seafarers offered by Salute Her is a substantial investment over a two-year period in a new gender-specific welfare service which I believe will help support the recovery of women seafarers who have been affected by sexual violence in their place of work. However, our funding of this service is just one part of a bigger picture as we all need to urgently consider what more can be done to protect the safety of women who choose a career at sea.”
This is an additional funded service providing a response and support to sexual violence at sea. The Seafarers’ Charity is also a long-term funder of Safer Waves which provides an email emotional support service for seafarers who have experienced sexual violence, sexual harassment or gender discrimination.