Rape Crisis centre moving to new address
A long-awaited new premises has been secured for Wexford Rape Crisis Centre, fulfilling a key target in a three-year strategic plan which will be officially launched by the former Miss World Rosanna Davison in Murphy's Barn on the New Line Road at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 9.
'We will be announcing an update on the premises. It is positive news', said Clare Williams, manager of the countywide service located for many years in a cramped and dilapidated premises in Clifford Street in Wexford town.
'I've been here four years and it's been a struggle. People who have been through some of the most horrific and heinous crimes you can imagine, should be able to avail of a service in a suitable and quality environment. It's a fundamental need', she said.
A new logo and name change for the service will also be unveiled, along with a three-minute video made by Dalton Films of New Ross called 'Say Something', profiling the differing stories of three survivors of abuse, a woman, a man and a child.
Formerly known by the unwieldy title of the Wexford Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Service (WRSASS), the service is now simply called Wexford Rape Crisis and it provides counselling for adult female, male and child victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
The centre recently hired a psychotherapist who is qualified to work with young people from the age of 12 upwards. who have been affected by domestic, sexual or gender-based violence.
Wexford Rape Crisis provides counselling to victims of domestic violence at Wexford Women's Refuge
A key aim of the strategic plan is to develop an adolescent counselling service. An adolescent psychotherapist currently works one day a week but 'we are knocking on the door of Tusla looking for funding so we can extend her hours', said Clare.
'We haven't advertised the service because we are afraid that the flood gates will open', she said, adding that 'we know it's a huge issue but at the moment, we don't have enough resources'.
'We've always had adolescent counselling and have delivered a service to young people but a year or so ago we decided we needed to take on someone who is specifically qualified to deal with the needs of young people', said Clare.
'At the moment, we are starting at 12-plus, however, if we get a new premises and additional funding, we could lower the age group'.
The demand for adolescent counselling at the centre is primarily related to sexual violence including extended familial abuse and also young people in County Wexford who are being groomed online by sexual predators, according to Clare.
'I had a young girl that I assessed, 15 years old. She formed an online relationship with a guy who showed up outsider her school and he raped her'.
'The other part is young people getting into situations, perhaps with peers in their own age group, but don't have the skills or the knowledge to communicate that they don't want to progress sexually or physically and then something happens where they feel traumatised by the event'.
'We are dealing with children of the 1950's, the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. We have adults who were abused many years ago when they were children. For a lot of their lives, they've tried to suppress it and they are struggling with that'.
Another target of the three-year plan is raising awareness of the work done by Wexford Rape Crisis, 'letting the people of County Wexford know that there is a counselling service available to anyone who has endured domestic, sexual or gender-based violence of any kind'.
'That is one of the reasons we did the video. We want to reach out to people who have been affected by abuse, to encourage them to seek help. We want people to know that we work with women, men and young people'', Clare said.
The video is available to view on the Wexford Rape Crisis website.
The target period of the plan is 2017-2020 and it has been a work in progress since late 2016, 'The search for a new premises has been a major issue and has taken up a lot of our time', said Clare.
Anyone who would like to attend the launch, is welcome to do so by sending an RSVP to email@example.com before Friday, February 22. Ms. Davison whose grandmother Maeve lives in Bargy Castle in Tomhaggard, is a supporter of the work of the centre and has agreed to officiate at the event.
There will be music on arrival and tea, coffee and scones will be served.