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19 August 2011, 06:00
More youg people than ever before are contacting a rape crisis centre in the East Midlands.
Derbyshire Rape Crisis (DRC) told Capital they are now looking for more volunteers to be able to answer all the calls. Latest governement stats reckon around 21% of girls and 11% of boys experience some form of child sexual abuse.
Paul Whittick, manager at DRC, says; "The need for more support for young people in the region is clear. Our own statistics, together with those of Derbyshire Police and Millfield House Sexual Assault Referral Centre back up national findings with the majority of people seeking help falling into the 14 - 29 age groups."
Helpline development co-ordinator, Elaine Mitchel-Hill, added; "The helpline is DRC's oldest service and continues to be fundamental to the Charity's services and a lifeline to clients of all ages, whether their call is to make initial contact or to access ongoing support. A phone call can be anonymous and is often the easiest way of making initial contact and establishing trust. Without trust it is unlikely that people will come forward to access other services that we offer."
The service is also looking at expanding other ways that young people can get in touch, like email, text and online forums.
Elaine: " By providing more online information, developing educational resources, working with primary and secondary schools across the region and collaborating with other specialist national providers we will be able to raise awareness and give young people the knowledge and confidence to seek support."
DRC's education programme is currently being developed and will be piloted in the region during 2011. The Charity's aim is to empower young people and encourage them to reach out and get support. The education programme will also address social attitudes, misconceptions and myths about rape and sexual violence.
Elaine said; "The helpline is currently available for 20 hours each week and we're seeking volunteers, both male and female, to allow us to increase this substantially. DRC provide an excellent training programme and ongoing support for its volunteers. We recognise that volunteers are the lifeblood of the organisation and we are now able to offer an extended and varied range of volunteering opportunities."
Manager, Paul Whittick: "DRC's services would not exist if sexual violence did not persist in our society but while it does DRC will continue to campaign for changes in the law and changes in services to deal with the issues that rape and sexual violence creates."
If you need support call either the DRC office on 01332 342 255, the helpline on 01332 372 545 or visit www.drconline.org.uk.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering opportunities you can call the office on 01332 342 255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a teacher and are interesting in finding out more about DRC's education programme then contact Elaine directly on 07970 293 502.