At tonight’s council meeting there will be a lot on the agenda and particularly a lot to say about next year’s budget, which I will blog about tomorrow if I have time. However I am also proposing a motion to full council supporting a SARC in Reading, a single point of contact for rape and sexual abuse victims. I’m hoping it will get cross party support. The text is below:
This council notes:
The campaign for a Sexual Abuse Referral Centre (SARC) for Reading
That a SARC is a single point of contact where victims can go with or without police involvement, and have access to counseling, be referred for health services and undertake forensic examination, yielding the evidence the police will need if the victim makes a complaint then or later.
That rape is a hugely traumatic experience which can affect men, women and children and leave the victim feeling bereft and alone and very much in need of support
That the nearest SARC is in in Slough and driving or taking a train to another town and having to find your way around there may put off victims of rape, or other sexual assault, from getting the support they need.
That the long term benefits of early intervention and counseling after a rape can include better mental and physical health for the victim as well as more convictions, which are sadly still very necessary.
That SARCs are funded either by the police or the NHS or acting in partnership.
This council therefore resolves to:
Encourage residents to sign the epetition on the government website:
To work with the Police and the NHS to find a way to open a SARC in Reading
Instruct the Chief Executive to write to his counterparts in Reading Police and Berkshire West PCT informing them of this motion and asking them to work with us
I fully support the campaign as without it I would not have even heard of SARCs and when I was raped in December 2011 I went to Slough. However for 4 days I did NOT go to Slough because I was incapable of using public transport nor could I afford cab fare. If a SARC was in Reading then I could have jumped in a cab. I did do forensics on the 5th day after my attack and an arrest has been made but those 4 days I did not go mean I missed the opportunity to have a drug rape blood test.
Reading is a massive town and has no support whatsoever to Rape victims. I went to Slough for SARC and am receiving counselling in Wokingham.
Thank you for your comment. I think it says better than I could why this campaign is so important.
Hello Rachel, I am the Chief Executive of a charity called Parents and Children Together (PACT) based here in Reading.
My colleagues and I saw a clipping from a local Reading paper concerning your proposal for a SARC in Reading and also your entry in this blog.
PACT is a Reading based charity that runs, amongst many other services, Alana House, a Women’s Community Project. We work in partnership with a variety of organisations to create a place where women can access help from a range of agencies from one centre bringing together expertise from all over Reading. Services include those from Reading Borough Council, Thames Valley Probation, St Mungo’s, CAB, RAHAB and Ability Housing.
You may like to see our Wall of Faces especially the short videos from Lorraine Joslin, Louise Walsh, Sarah Holland, Judge Zoe Smith, Maxine and Lady Catherine Stevenson to find out more. http://www.pactcharity.org/wall
We would be interested in meeting with you discuss a rape crisis centre as well as the SARC and wondered if you had any availability on a Friday in the next few weeks to visit Alana House and meet a few staff and volunteers responsible for running the Centre.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Jan Fishwick (email@example.com)
Emailed you earlier today – lets get a meeting lined up!