Westcountry: New Rape And Abuse Support Service

6 March 2014, 12:38 | Updated: 6 March 2014, 13:49

A support service for survivors of rape and sexual violence are expanding their services out of Bristol and into the rest of the Westcountry.

On average 20 women in the Westcountry record a rape or serious sexual assault with Avon & Somerset Police every week, but according to Somerset & Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS) there are another 52 women who do not report it. SARSAS say this is partly because they think they will not be believed and because there has been a lack of specialist support services available to them. Now, after funding from the Ministry of Justice, the charity is hoping to reach out and help many of these women.

The charity, which is run by women for women, provides a confidential helpline 5 days a week, one-to-one support and specialist counselling.

SARSAS is working in partnership with Avon and Somerset's Police and Crime Commissioner and Somerset County Council to raise awareness of rape myths through a new campaign 'This is not an excuse to rape me'.

You can call their helpline on 0808 801 0456, or get support via email at support@sarsas.org.uk