Feature: Warwick Safeline charity’s vital work over the last 20 years

Feature - Safeline, Warwick.
Feature - Safeline, Warwick.

A local charity has been awarded more than £60,000 from the Ministry of Justice to continue its efforts in supporting male rape victims, writes April Roach.

Last week’s announcement came as Safeline marks two decades of offering support and help to men and women across the county. Safeline is a leading specialist charity for sexual abuse and rape victims in Warwickshire and surrounding areas. Its aim as an organisation is clear.

Feature - Safeline, Warwick. NNL-141216-232356009

Feature - Safeline, Warwick. NNL-141216-232356009

“Safeline exists to prevent rape and sexual abuse from occurring. In an ideal world we would completely eradicate the problem, but realistically we can still put a lot of emphasis on prevention,” said its chief executive Neil Henderson.

The Warwick based charity offers one-to-one counselling for psychological support, training and workshops, support groups and a telephone helpline as well as text and email support. Its services are confidential and available for anyone seeking help regardless of race, gender or class. The services are mainly delivered by a team of volunteers who support staff in providing professional services.

Only one in ten of sexual crimes go to court therefore around 90 per cent of sexual abuse cases do not receive justice. Safeline is working with authorities to change this.

This year is the charity’s 20th anniversary and it is looking to increase the momentum gathered over the years.

With the grant money Safeline has created a new website, helpline and a support group specifically for men which Mr Henderson explains has a dramatic impact, as men are less likely to come forward in cases of rape. Some 20 per cent of the people that Safeline works with are men.

Mr Henderson said: “This is a fantastic initiative from the Ministry of Justice. It is the first time the government has provided funding for support of male rape victims and it is long overdue. But this is not enough.”

Mr Henderson’s commercial background has enabled him to consider the sheer economic costs sexual abuse has on society. There is an estimated £27 billion associated social cost from factors such as criminal costs, NHS costs and the loss of economic output as rape victims often struggle to hold a job.

He added: “The business case for investing more in preventing rape and sexual abuse is overwhelming.”

Mr Henderson described Safeline’s model for providing support as “cost effective” and that it has the potential to help more people.

“Rape is grossly underfunded. Safeline is blessed because we have nearly 60 volunteer counsellors who give their time because they are committed.”

“For an independent organisation like this to last 20 years in a brutal funding environment is a remarkable achievement,” he added.

Safeline’s plans for the future include working more with families and ethnic minorities. They are recruiting counsellors that speak Hindu and are exploring the use of art therapies to aid their services.

The helpline is free of charge and is open Monday to Friday from 7.30 to 9.30pm.

They can be reached at 0300 123 2028 or by email at office@safeline.org.uk