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03 Jul 2022

Rape Crisis Centre looks for funding as case numbers rise

"We have assessed the needs of our community and have found a staggering need for prevention work"

Rape Crisis Centre looks for funding as case numbers rise

Art exhibition will be held next week to raise funds for Donegal Rape Crisis Centre

An increase in sexual violence in the community, a bigger demand for its services coupled with a lack of funding has left Donegal Rape Crisis Centre struggling to sustain the level of support their clients desperately need.

To this end and to raise badly needed cash they are holding a fundraising art exhibition entitled Healing Journeys in Letterkenny next week.

"The artwork on display has been created by our clients, their supporters, our staff and anyone affected by sexual violence," explains Niamh Watson education officer at the rape crisis centre.

The artwork on show depicts clients' experiences over various stages of their healing journey.

Donegal Rape Crisis Centre provides free and confidential support to anyone affected by sexual violence, recent or historic aged 12+ from Co Donegal and surrounding areas.

"We provide one to one counselling, parental/guardian support group, court accompaniment, garda accompaniment and also an accompaniment to SATU- the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit.

We also provide crisis call support or crisis drop-in as well as various emotional and practical supports to survivors and all affected by sexual violence.

"We are members of the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland and are committed to providing high quality, professional support service to our local community but we need your help.

She adds that due to the increased prevalence of sexual violence in the community, they have expanded their service and now offer support to anyone over 12 years of age.

"We have assessed the needs of our community and have found a staggering need for prevention work and so have developed our own education programme for the youth of Donegal.

"We facilitate workshops for various groups in secondary schools across Donegal. We have limited funding but have seen a huge demand from the offset.

"We have worked with approximately 150-200 young people thus far. Our training is adaptable to any group, we can work with anyone aged 12 and over, of any ability.

"We have facilitated various workshops in the past, including disclosure, consent and trauma training with groups of all sizes. We plan to expand the programme to facilitate community groups over the summer. We have also successfully delivered trauma and disclosure training to all new Donegal garda recruits within the past year."

Ms Watson points out that due to the lack of funding we have had to limit the number of sessions they can facilitate.

As we are a charitable organisation, we rely heavily on donations and the generosity of the community. By supporting us you will be supporting the young people of Donegal and in turn changing their perspective of consent for the better.

"We are currently severely underfunded and due to inflation and the rising cost of overheads, we are struggling to sustain the level of support that our clients desperately need.

"We know that times are difficult due to Covid but we would appreciate any donations or support the public could provide us with," she says.

The Healing Journeys exhibition will be open at the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny between 11am-5pm on Tuesday June 7 to Friday, June 10 and between 1pm and 5pm on Saturday, June 11.

The official opening event will take place on Thursday, June 9 at 6pm.

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