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National Rape Crisis - Statement of Common Policy

WRSAC is an affiliated member of National Rape Crisis and have signed up to the following statement of common policy: -

Affiliated Members:  Statement of Common Policy

Rape Crisis Centres (RCC) are frontline services providing crucial support and independent advocacy for all women of all ages who have experienced any form of sexual violence. The first centre opened in 1973 and they are community based and independent of the Government and the Criminal Justice System. Rape Crisis acknowledges all forms of sexual violence including; rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, rape in marriage, forced marriage, and so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking and sexual exploitation; ritual abuse and sexual harassment irrespective of whether the violence is from known or unknown perpetrators.

Rape Crisis groups are autonomous and below are outlined Rape Crisis (England and Wales) Statement of Common Policy:

• Member organisations of Rape Crisis (England and Wales) are either Full Affiliated Members or Members Working Towards Full Affiliation. Rape Crisis offers a safe and non-threatening environment where women and girls can receive support, counselling and information in confidence.

• By working to feminist principles, Rape Crisis recognises the imbalance of power relations between men and women within society and work to promote substantive equality*. Rape Crisis believes that by providing women only space this challenges structures which have historically discriminated against women and girls. Rape Crisis counselling, support, advocacy and information is provided from a women-centred perspective.

• Rape Crisis recognises that sexual violence is a crime of violence and abuse of power, and that the woman is never to blame for being abused. Rape Crisis’ role is to provide women with options and practical, independent information and support when required.

• Rape Crisis recognises that sexual violence and sexual exploitation is a cause and consequence of gender inequality. Gender based violence requires a gender specific, evidenced based response. Discrimination against women violates the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity and is an obstacle to the participation of women, on equal terms with men, in political, social, economic and cultural life. Substantive equality recognises that the neutral, genderless character of formal equality masks structural discrimination and privilege that are embedded or built into institutions as a result of past discrimination.

• Women and girls are supported in their choices with regard to their human rights including; sexual health, reproductive rights and the right to safe abortion

• Member groups of Rape Crisis (England and Wales) aim to encourage all women to be involved and to contribute to the direction and priorities of their organisation. Women and girls must be supported to speak in their own voices about their own experiences and realities. All Centres work in an inclusive and participatory manner and they facilitate women and girls to be involved in their organisations at all levels and demonstrate mutual accountability and responsibility in policy and decision-making. Centres work within the principle that if an organisation is made up of women from a diverse range of ethnic, social and economic backgrounds and experiences, this makes the group stronger.

• All information remains confidential except in exceptional circumstances as outlined in individual group’s policies and procedures.

• Rape Crisis acknowledges that particular groups of women are affected differently by the compounded effects of past and continuing inequalities based on gender, sexuality, disability, faith, age, ethnicity, economic situation and other status and pro actively work towards making services available and accessible to all women.

• As members of Rape Crisis (England and Wales) we agree to abide by this policy statement as outlined above and to safeguard the good name and values of the organisation.

• Rape Crisis (England and Wales) may review this policy from time to time. 

*Substantive equality - Given the embedded, structural nature of discrimination, substantive equality addresses equality of results as well as equality of opportunity. Thus, the substantive equality model differs from that of formal equality (1) by requiring that the UK achieve equality of results between men and women; (2) by acknowledging that the UK may need to treat men and women differently in order to realise these aims; and (3) by recognising the need for enabling conditions to ameliorate women's situation.