26th Jan, 2022

Rape and sexual abuse charity CRASAC in Coventry wins award

Emily Fish 28th May, 2017

A CHARITY which provides support and advocacy for victims of sexual abuse has been recognised for its outstanding contributions to health care.

The GSK Impact Awards – now in its 20th year – recognises charities across the nation for their efforts to improve people’s health and well-being.

This year’s awards saw Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC) – the only sexual abuse charity in the city – honoured for its hard work in supporting victims of the crime.

The charity, established in 1981, was initially a volunteer-led service offering telephone counselling for women.

After receiving much-deserved funding the charity was able to employ full-time workers and expand its services – including counselling for men and boys.

Newer initiatives include working in schools to give children a space to talk about their concerns surrounding sexual abuse and what it means to them.

CRASAC says it recognises sexual violence is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality and is a crime which disproportionately affects women and girls.

Last year, the organisation helped over 7,000 victims of sexual abuse. This is in addition to the victims’ families, as the workers understand ‘sexual abuse is not a crime which occurs in isolation.’

One victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, described CRASAC as a ‘refuge’.

She said: “I felt safe, protected, supported and looked after.”

Another victim added: “I credit them with keeping me alive.”

Following its award, CRASAC will receive a £30,000 donation, two places on a free training and development programme, as well as an invitation to join the GSK Impact Awards Development Network.

The programme will help winning charities to grow by liasing with former winners via an online network, thus giving them the chance to share their experiences and expertise.

They will also have the opportunity to build a range of leadership skills and gain knowledge on specialist areas, such as financial management and governance, evaluation and knowledge spread and communication with HR.

The Coventry Observer went along to CRASAC as the charity celebrated its achievement.

Among the supporters was police and crime commissioner David Jamieson, who congratulated the charity on its success.

Over two years ago, he created a victims’ commission to support deserving organisations across the West Midlands.

The funding has been a vital part of the charity’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) outreach service, which Dianne Whitfield, chief officer at CRASAC, said allows it to identify vulnerable people and become more accessible within the community.

She added it was this funding that the GSK panel recognised alongside the charity’s various other services.

Thanking staff from the centre, Dianne said she was incredibly proud of what CRASAC has achieved.

She added: “We have grown immensely in Coventry in order to meet the local needs and we expect to continue to grow bespoke to the needs of the community.

Talking about her role, she said: “This is the best part of my career.

“It’s got the values and the commitment and the work we do speaks for itself.

“It makes a huge difference to people’s lives, so I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

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