Rape crisis
Responding to sexual violence
By Helen Jones and Kate Cook

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Rape Crisis centres have provided the most effective and valued source of support for survivors of rape in Britain ever since the centres were developed as part of the women's movement of the 1970s. Yet now, at the same time as Britain is failing survivors of rape in the courts, there is also a threat to the work delivered through the centres.

For anyone who wants to understand how we reached this point of crisis, or who wants to be able to respond, this book helpfully provides:
  • an understanding of the strengths that these centres can add to how we respond to rape in our society
  • an explanation of the knowledge, ideas and skills that comprise the centres' unique model of support
  • an account of the rape crisis movement's struggles in starting and sustaining the centres.
  • a permanent record of the philosophies and ideas that underpinned the founding of the original centres, and a history of how they have changed and evolved over 30 years.

  • Too few people know about the centres or how they are run. This book documents the work and story of Rape Crisis in England and Wales, drawing comparisons with similar centres and networks in Scotland and Ireland. It provides the reader, whether an interested individual, a student or academic, a professional or voluntary worker, with a flavour of the original Rape Crisis work, and assesses its actual and potential value, here and now.

    Practical ideas for ways forward, which often mean learning the tools of survival during the current times of change, are presented, and can help ensure that there will be Rape Crisis centres for as long as there are women who need the specialist support that they offer.

    "Thank goodness this book has been written! At last there is an opportunity for those outside the movement to learn about some of our work and hopefully understand our motivations. Rape Crisis: Responding to Sexual Violence represents a tentative opening of a door that has been largely shut for three decades. It documents the Rape Crisis movement's simultaneously depressing and inspiring journey. Depressing because it highlights the myriad of problems faced by even the strongest of centres. Depressing because it emphasises the ubiquitous nature of rape. Depressing because it represents reality - we simply do not have enough Rape Crisis Centres left to provide the support that every survivor needs and deserves... Yet also a testament to the strength of so many women. Brave, dedicated, focused women who have a vision of a world free from rape. Passionate women for whom the term 'good enough' does not feature within their vocabulary." Adapted from the Preface by Dr Nicole Westmarland, Chair of Rape Crisis (England and Wales).

    Large format paperback. 144 pages. 978-1-905541-27-0. Published 2008. £18.95.


  • Practitioners and managers in social work, offender management, policing, victim support.
  • Managers, workers and volunteers in the Rape Crisis and Women's Aid networks.
  • Policy-makers, lecturers, researchers and students in criminology, criminal justice, social work, social policy, law, sociology and cultural studies.


    Preface by Nicole Westmarland, Chair of Rape Crisis (England and Wales)
    A Movement is born: (e)merging theory and practice
    No more handmaidens: birth of the women's liberation movement
    Radical Feminism: the birth of the anti-rape movement
    Understanding rape
    Starting small: Rape Crisis in the US
    Into a hostile silence: Rape Crisis in the UK and Ireland.
    Core values
    Rape Crisis developing
    The centres: change and challenges
    Collecting knowledge
    Feminism and the 'living dynamic'
    Coming together: starting a centre
    South Essex
    Changes (1): collective to hierarchy
    Changes (2): leaving 'Rape Crisis'
    Challenges (1): funding - a structural inequality
    Challenges (2): SARCS
    Sticking plaster or survival? Defining the work
    Talking about the services
    Types of services
    Difficulties within the services
    Service development or wish-lists
    Working in Rape Crisis
    Multi-agency working
    ConclusionThe Rape Crisis Federation
    LRCC and the original stance on federation
    To federate or not to federate: that was the question
    Setting up the RCF
    Development work
    The launch
    Rape Crisis now: surviving or thriving?
    Scotland and Ireland
    Charitable status
    Mainstream provision
    Government funding of rape crisis centres
    The victims fund
    A geographical lottery of service
    Stop all the raping! Ongoing campaigns
    Framing the issues
    Identifying the feminist model
    Out of our ghetto and into the world
    Campaign to End Rape
    Zero Tolerance
    Real space meets cyberspace: campaigning by computer
    Web Resources
    Appendix 1: Rape Crisis Groups Questionnaire
    Appendix 2: Distribution of rape crisis centres in 1999 and those remaining in 2007
    Appendix 3: Federating Flowchart
    Appendix 4: Rape Crisis Centres in Ireland and Scotland
    Appendix 5: SATUs and SARCs
    Appendix 6: Victims Fund Grants 2007 awarded by regional breakdown


    Dr Helen Jones
    hates to be put in a box but will describe herself as a feminist, teacher, researcher, writer, website monkey and activist. She has taught in universities in the UK and the US and is currently employed at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she works with some of the brightest students in the country. There she teaches on a range of criminology and criminal justice topics and enjoys introducing her students to issues that really matter in the world. This, combined with feminist activism, has seen Helen involved in the Home Office Sex Offences Review, the Victims of Violence and Abuse Prevention Programme (VVAPP) and the Inter-Ministerial Advisory Panel on Sexual Violence. Over the years she has been a collective member and unpaid consultant to the Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre in Merseyside and often speaks about the Rape Crisis movement at conferences, on the radio and in the press but doesn't like being on television.

    Dr Kate Cook is a radical feminist activist, who is also a lesbian, a teacher and a writer. She began working in Rape Crisis as a volunteer in 1990, after a summer school for the legendary OU women's studies course 'The Changing Experience of Women'. Her experience duly changed at that point and she became a busy member of the Manchester Rape Crisis collective, acting as a support worker as well as becoming involved in all of the aspects of running the centre, from painting and maintenance through to training volunteers and outside speaking. Through this work she has met a number of wonderful women (including Helen), many of whom have contributed to this volume. She has also developed some skills which she tries to give back to the movement through continued links with Rape Crisis, through campaigning work with CER; TAR and JFW and through her teaching. At various times Kate has also been a member of the Manchester Women's Liberation Newsletter and Eve's Back.