Vital support service for rape and sexual abuse victims could end

A support service has launched a crowdfunding campaign.

A support service has launched a crowdfunding campaign. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A vital support service which helps victims of rape and sexual abuse could fold unless it raises enough money to continue its life-changing work.

Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS) is crowdfunding to save a specialist support service which helps survivors to reclaim their lives.

Sexual violence can have a lifelong impact on people's lives, through mental health issues, drug and alcohol dependence, homelessness and isolation.

Some victims find it hard to access traditional help, but highly trained specialist support workers with SARSAS provide flexible and creative support to help people recover from trauma.

Claire Bloor, chief executive, said: "Our specialised support worker team provides essential help to women who have experienced the devastating impacts of rape and sexual abuse.

"Women who want to be able to get their lives back on track, to leave the house again, start a job, feel safe having a relationship.

"We know that our practical and emotional support can really make a huge difference to survivor's lives.

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"It is an amazing team and we don't want to lose it.

"It is helping 24 women a week who rely on this support."

SARSAS, which helps victims from Weston and North Somerset, is working to secure long-term financial support, but it is desperate for funds to keep the crucial service running in the meantime.

The service needs to raise £5,000 which will cover 234 hours of support.

The money will pay the support workers' wages, the costs of support rooms, and materials like art supplies.

Speaking about the vital service, one survivor said: "You have held my hand through one of the most devastating but transformational periods of my life.

"The support and loving guidance you have given me is unforgettable and I'm sure will have long-lasting ripples throughout my life and beyond.

"I feel so very hopeful about my future, thanks to you."

The team offers people support in their community to make people feel more comfortable.

Support workers also use art to help survivors talk about their feelings.

To find out more about the appeal, or to donate, log on to