Bradford Rape Crisis started life in 1981 when a group of women came together, to share their fear and anger about male violence against women. Those first women wanted to find ways to support each other and to reach out to other women who were survivors of sexual violence.
They began a helpline in 1982 and quickly came to understand the reality that so many women’s lives have been devastated by sexual abuse, either as adults or when they were children.
All those first women had was a telephone and a determination to give their time to support as many women as they could. They were all volunteers, making proceeds from organising jumble sales and discos, and collecting individual donations to keep going. As the calls flooded in, they listened to what women told them about what they needed in order to recover and take control of their lives, and they steadily grew a service to meet those needs.
Now we have grown into a team of women with a range of specialist skills. We work hard to try and make sure women and girls can access our services whatever their background or circumstances.
Our helpline has been running ever since those early days, offering emotional support and information, and acting as a gateway into all the other services we now offer.
Alongside developing counselling, group work and raising awareness in the community we have also been running:
- Jyoti specialist services for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women and girls run by BAME women staff since 1995.
- Counselling service for refugee, asylum seeking & trafficked women based in a GP practice, Bevan Healthcare since 2006.
- An Independent Sexual Violence Advocacy (ISVA) service for women and girls in the criminal justice system since 2008.
- An advocacy & support service for refugee, asylum seeking and trafficked women who are seeking protection in the UK since 2012.
- After school Girls Groups and then emotional support for girls in their schools since 2015
- Mindfulness courses since 2016
Throughout our development, we have always kept the principle set up by those first women – we’re here to listen, and the services we create are always in response to what women and girls tell us they need and want.
We know that recovering from sexual abuse is about reclaiming control over our own lives, and we respect, support and encourage each survivor to do just that.
We are proud to be a feminist organisation, ensuring our practice is led by the women and girls we support.