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“Let’s talk about it”: Our North London Rape Crisis service launches new freephone helpline, to provide life-saving emotional support to survivors of sexual violence and abuse, in a critical climate of unprecedented demand for services and insecure funding.

 With essential funds provided by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the Home Office, we are launching the North London Rape Crisis (NLRC) freephone helpline to provide a safe, non-judgmental, confidential space for an ever increasing number of women and girls who are desperately seeking help to recover from sexual violence and abuse.

To mark the launch of the new freephone helpline, NLRC are launching a campaign, featuring Solace volunteers and supporters, to help challenge some of the myths surrounding sexual violence and break down the barriers to picking up the phone and getting crucial emotional support. Help spread the word on Twitter by tweeting: #Solace40 is here to listen. New Freephone North London Rape Crisis helpline 0808 801 0305. Challenge myths. Break barriers #letstalkaboutit

NLRC-group

The anonymous listening service is available to women and girls aged 13+ who have experienced any form of sexual violence (including child sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, prostitution and female genital mutilation) at any time: recent or non-recent, whether they are already receiving support, awaiting counselling, or speaking out for the first time and irrespective of if they want to report the crime or not.

As the number of rape and sexual abuse cases reported in London soars by nearly 30% (*Metropolitan police 2015) and mounting media coverage of sexual abuse atrocities hits the headlines it is not surprising that more women are coming forward. Solace is increasingly inundated with requests for help and has seen a 40% increase in referrals. Emily Robertson, our NLRC service manager explains that “with insecure and stretched funding, we struggle to meet the needs of all those seeking support in dealing with the devastating impacts of rape and sexual abuse. The new helpline is a vital service offering in-depth emotional support that really could be the difference between life and death.”

But with no end in sight for the influx of women and girls seeking support, fears are escalating over availability of services for courageous survivors who come forward. One service user sums up the impact that NLRC has had for her, “I would not be here, alive today if it wasn’t for the North London Rape Crisis Service”But, like many other Rape Crisis centres across the UK, NLRC has no secure funding from the government after March 2016. Unless this is resolved urgently NLRC will face closure and vital support would be withdrawn from thousands of survivors.

Freephone Helpline 0808 801 0305

Find out more about the North London Rape Crisis service