We were delighted to receive a call out of the blue from the Whistlestop Cafe in August. The cafe at Teignmouth Railway Station hosts a weekly night for local bikers and holds a collection each week. We'd never had any contact with the Whistlestop or bikers before so it really was a surprise to be told they'd raised £120 for us.
We're not an obvious charity to most people because rape and childhood sexual abuse are difficult topics to talk about and it's often easier to focus on "fluffier" issues like animals!
It's remarkable to us when a group of people step up and deal with the issues face-on; it is certainly what survivors of sexual violence tell us they want.
We were presented with a cheque for £120 by Gus who works at the cafe and the owner was keen to talk about why Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services was chosen as a charity to support.
Melissa Middleton, who has run the Whistlestop for 15 years says that the charity recently helped a friend of her hers. She added "I was also helped by the original rape crisis service in Exeter, over 17 years ago. It's a life saving service and a life-changing service and it really helped me to stop pretending to cope and to move back on with my life. The help I received back then helped turn me from a victim into a survivor and I'd really encourage anyone to come forward and ask for support".
International Dance Supplies held an event in July and raised £612 for Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services.
The company is owned by Anne Walker MBE, one of our delightful patrons who is an amazing ambassador for our service.
Asked how the money had been raised on the night she said "We raised the money through raffle tickets and a couple of (very) persuasive helpers!"
Thank you to Anne and everyone who supported the event and generously donated.
Volunteers, trustees and staff from across the south west region gathered in Exeter in June for a lively and passionate away day together.
Women came from Gloucester, Bristol, North Somerset, Taunton, Devon and Cornwall to share their ideas and passion for the work they do.
The region works very closely together and each service offers a similar range of services so everyone starts from a similar level of understanding.
The Away day was opened by Clare Moody MEP who was inspirational in her expressions of commitment to both services for victims and equality for women.
The majority of the rest of the day was spent in smaller workshop groups covering a range of topics. There was lots of input on helping women to deal with trauma symptoms, bodywork tools, sessions on diversity, The Alexander Technique and Trustee roles.
But as well as the learning, this was a chance for women to meet and connect and for the relationships between our 4 centres to deepen and grow.
Powerful new film - Black women speak out about racist sexual harassment.
DRCSAS are looking for volunteers!
Devon Rape Crisis & Sexual Abuse Services is looking for volunteers! Devon RCSAS is looking for women volunteers to represent our diverse community and join our team. No previous experience is needed, as training is provided, we just ask for passion and commitment! Devon RCSAS is a voluntary organisation that offers a range of free and confidential specialist support services to women (aged 13 years and above) in Devon who have experienced rape or sexual violence. We also provide a more limited range of support to young men. All volunteers will carry out support on the telephone helpline and Email Support Service either in Exeter, Torquay or Barnstaple and there is also the possibility of carrying out face to face specialist support in the area where they live. They will also need to attend the volunteer supervision and development meetings which take place once a month in Exeter. The training programme runs over 6 months and it is accredited.
Talk to us now about Volunteer Training in Barnstaple for Spring 2018.
We've put on comedy events in the past as fundraisers for our service and this time we have decided to combine fundraising with awareness raising.
A comedy show about rape is not something the organisation entered into lightly. We weighed up the costs and benefits of promoting this and the greatest discussions we had were about what kind of message this might send to those using our services or thinking about doing so.
We're a professional and sensitive organisation and it matters to us how women feel. So, we know that women feel tied up in knots with the rape myths that abound in our society, we know that women feel sickened to hear "rape jokes" in their social circles, we know that women feel silenced by the cultural "normalising" of sexual assault and rape and we know that women do not come forward for support or report to the police because of the prevailing social norms.
This show takes all the rape myths, chews them up and spits them back out again. It challenges the ways in which rape is discussed, laughed about and accepted. As a feminist organisation, committed to the support of women and to cultural change, this is a show that we are proud to present.
Obviously, this is a challenging show and could well be triggering to some so please look after yourselves in making a decision about whether to book or not.
Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services
Is recruiting for an Administration and Finance Worker
18.5 hours Mon/Tue/Wed
£19,570 pro rata
Experience of using financial software, reconciliation, preparation of monthly income and expenditure reports.
Closing date 4th March, interview 14th March
For an application pack click on our Vacancies page.
Much of 2015 was taken up with discussion and consultation about the name of our organisation and in December we formally changed our name to Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services.
The change came about because of ongoing confusion from both prospective service users and referrers. People were often confused whether they could access our services if they had experienced childhood sexual abuse and we know of occasions when women went without a service because of this confusion.
We are passionate about making sure that everyone who needs specialist support receives it, so changing our name became really important to us. It was quite a challenge to make a change that was going to meet the needs of everyone inside and outside of the organisation. In the end, we decided to hang on to 'Devon Rape Crisis' as part of the name because it is a nationally known, historic brand and a name that we have built locally with an excellent reputation over the last 5 years. Adding 'Sexual Abuse Services' allowed us to reach out to thousands who have been affected by childhood sexual abuse and let them know that we can and will help. It was quite a pragmatic choice and doesn't scan as well as our old name but crucially it makes who we are and what we do much clearer - and that was always the most important reason for a change.
The good news is that our website and email addresses will not be changing! So please continue to contact us in all the usual ways.
Please see listed below our helpline hours over the Christmas period:
Wednesday 23rd December - 10am - 1pm
Friday 25th December - Closed
Monday 28th December - Closed
Wednesday 30th December - Closed
Friday 1st January - Closed
Monday 4th January - 3pm - 6pm
If you require support during the times we are closed, please contact Rape Crisis England and Wales on 0808 802 9999.
It was a pleasure for trustees, patrons, volunteers and staff to go down to Kingskerswell to be presented with the cheque and to meet many of the people involved in the fundraising. We want to thank her so much for all of her hard work over the past year and to wish her well in having a well-earned break from fundraising!
"I feel like I have a much calmer outlook in how I deal with difficult emotions. It has given me space to process my experiences safely."
"It helped me move forward. I have been able to leave my house and go out. I can now do things I never thought I would be able to do again."
"Helped to make sense of things and re-assurance that just because he was found not guilty doesn't mean it didn't happen."