COUNTY Clare victims of rape and sexual assault will have essential counselling services at their doorstep after a new rape crisis outreach centre was officially opened in Ennis last week.
Mayor of Clare, Pat Hayes officially opened the new Ennis Rape Crisis Centre saying that it was encouraging in times of recession to see positive initiatives such as the opening of a new centre in the Mid-West Region.
“Rape Crisis Mid-West has been providing free and confidential services to survivors of rape and sexual assault for over 30 years now. This new centre has been opened in response to the needs of service users in County Clare – many were finding the journey to Limerick difficult and it became necessary to provide the counselling services nearer to home.
“It is a mark of the determinedness of the staff at Rape Crisis Mid-West to open here at Ennis without any direct Government funding for the overheads. They will rely on the generosity of people in Clare and the Mid-West to keep the doors open. It also coincides with the start of the international campaign of 16 days of action against violence,” he outlined.
Situated at Tracklands Business Park in Clonroadmore, the centre is managed by local counsellor, Anne Ginnane.
Anne described the opening of the Ennis centre as a new beginning. “It is the opening of the first outreach centre of its kind in Clare. I am both honoured and privileged to be a part of this new development from the beginning.”
She pointed out that the operation of the centre will rely heavily on the generosity of the local people.
“The services provided by Rape Crisis Mid-West extend beyond telephone and one-to-one counselling. A court accompaniment system is in place for those survivors who must go to court – we provide trained staff to accompany them to the court and provide the necessary supports required.
“In addition, we provide fully trained support workers to accompany a person who has been sexually assaulted to the sexual assault treatment unit in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick. These volunteers give emotional support, information and advocacy services,” she outlined.
Ms Ginnane said all of the services provided could not be fulfilled unless they were in a position to train and educate volunteers to carry out this work. Therefore, education was also a fundamental part to the charity.
Training programmes include Volunteer Counselling. The course duration is two years and is held every month approximately. The course is approved and accredited by Rape Crisis Network Ireland.
Rape Crisis Mid-West can provide speakers to various organisations and groups on various issues relating to sexual violence.
For anyone affected by sexual violence, the free phone number is 1800 311511 or visit www.rapecrisis.ie.