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Rape and Sexual Abuse Helpline and Support Service

Helpline: 01208 77099

Download the Rape and Sexual Abuse Helpline and Outreach Service Leaflet

WRSAC's Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Service runs a helpline and outreach services (this service covers East, Mid and North Cornwall) for victims and survivors of rape, sexual assault, incest, childhood sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. The helpline receives approx 1,500 calls per annum. Volunteer Support Workers provide ongoing outreach and support, advocacy and counselling to women, girls and their families each year. We are also developing a hub and spoke model of delivery to hard to reach geographical areas and body work for survivors.

The Rape and Sexual Abuse Helpline is live Monday to Thursday 10 – 1pm and Monday evening from 7.30 – 10pm. At these times calls are answered by our female  support workers. At other times we have a 24-hour answer-phone service, which we try to respond to within 24 hours. 

We treat all calls equally and sensitively, appreciating the courage required to break silence and share the events of the past whether they happened days or years ago.  Our service is free, friendly and confidential and may involve talking over the phone or arranging to meet in the centre or a place where women feel safe and comfortable.  

We offer a woman centered empowerment model of support, which enables women to restore their sense of personal power.

We do this by:-

  • Creating a culture of belief.
  • Ensuring women feel in control of the support they seek.
  • Providing information, advice and exploring options, rather than encouraging particular actions.
  • Recognising both the harm of victimisation and the resources needed to survive it.
  • Encouraging women to locate blame where it belongs with the perpetrator.
  • Validating what women do to survive and their coping strategies.

We work on a self-referral basis, ensuring women are ready to undertake working with us. However, we do increasingly receive referrals from many other agencies including Police, Cornwall Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Doctors, Victim Support, GUM clinic, Probation, Youth Offending Team, Social Services and the Youth Services.

Hub and Spoke Model

This model will allow WRSAC to run the Helpline and deliver services from a number of different locations thereby giving the opportunity to extend helpline hours and provide support services in hard to reach areas.

With the centre in Bodmin as the Hub the proposed areas of spoke development in the next 3 years would be Bude in year one, Saltash in year two and Launceston in year three.  

The model will recruit and train groups of Volunteer Support Workers in hard to reach areas to provide services locally. The spokes will seek accommodation in those areas and be open for limited time periods. The Helpline will be diverted to local groups ensuring that all Volunteers had opportunity to undertake Helpline duties without travelling long distances and incurring high travel costs. 

Additionally Helpline Accreditation is being developed which will enable WRSAC to review current practice and thereby improve services to victims/survivors

Body Work

The trauma of sexual violence and abuse doesn't just affect the mind and emotions; it affects the brain and body too.  Often the 'body remembers' what the mind cannot.  Many survivors not only suffer from psychological trauma, but also physical issues such as chronic pain, ME, fibromyalgia and many more. 

Talking therapies are an important part of healing, but the body is also integral to the healing process.  Body work facilitates mind/body connection and wholeness.  WRSAC are able to offer a variety of different body work therapies and techniques to assist your healing process and to help you to gain a sense of balance in your life.

This service is being delivered on a sessional basis by highly trained and skilled therapists and is available to women who are already engaged in WRSAC services.

For more information read the following leaflet Body Work - for mind, body and spiritual health.

"WRSAC has been a life changer for me, as I imagine it has been for many other women.  Without this service who knows where I would be now, so thank you."

"I am writing to you because I really want you to know what a huge impact you've had on my life.  I called your helpline several years ago when I lived in Cornwall.  I'd been abused by my mother as a child and met with so much disbelief, which made it harder to deal with.  I will never forget the kindness and rock-like steadiness of the volunteer there who said simply "I believe you.  I believe you and I'm horrified that  you went through that".  She told me that you would be there for me anytime, and indeed I did call once or twice more.  No matter how hard things were after that, I held on to the fact that you were there.  Although I didn't call a lot, your organisation was really my light in the darkness.  I have just volunteered to tell my story in a book that's being written by a rape survivor who works to try and empower women and help them to find performal transformation through their healing process.  I could never have believed when I made that call to you that one day I would be playing a part helping other survivors, by helping them know they are not alone.  I was inspired to tell my story because I want to give someone else the gift you gave me - the gift of being honoured and believed.  I know the strength to do it comes from within me, but I also think I might not have found that strength were it not for those simple , life changing three words.  Thank you so, so much, from the bottom of my heart." Star