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Rape Crisis Midwest’s digital focus and support for Ukrainians

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SUPPORT for Ukrainian survivors of rape has been added to the website of the Midwest’s main sexual violence response agency. 

Rape Crisis Midwest is also aiming to reach out to a new generation through social and digital media supports. It comes as the organisation, which has offices in Ennis, Limerick and Nenagh, unveils a new Strategy and Action Plan for the next five years. The structuring of the new plan first started in 2019.

The situation of the organisation was viewed very optimistically, as the economy was well into recovery mode. Covid-19 brought several challenges, but the importance of abiding by survivors meant that there was no option but to keep up with what was needed from the staff and volunteers at the centre. 

“Through the choppy and unfortunate circumstances, it is easy to see how it also worked out as an opportune moment to reflect on how activity in the centre had been undertaken and to appraise the orchestration of how the centre was moving forward and how to do it in good order and by rights,” a spokesperson said.

“It is evident that in this new generation there is only one way to go and that is online, this new plan brings forward a Digital Transformationand it oversees the expansion of the service onto online platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik-Tok, Twitter and even Zoom. This new step will allow for better and easier access to information availing, fundraising and to captivate the attention of the wider community.”

Rape Crisis Midwest supports survivors through counselling that is free, non-judgmental and confidential. Over the years 2022-2027, Midwest Rape Crisis Centre aims to improve and uphold this work in the new strategy, particularly with five new steps.

These involve anchoring sustainable operations for Rape Crisis Midwest; expanding sexual violence counselling and counsellor training; revitalising sexual violence training and development; enhancing community engagement, education and awareness; and promoting local community policy and advocacy. 

The strategic plan was brought into play with consultation of therapists, relevant practitioners, service users and the local stakeholders that allow for these services and relevant supports to be made available. Discussions were held in face to face meetings and through Zoom. An online survey aimed at clients, care providers and others, was also conducted. 

The new strategic plan also aims to assemble a training and establish an education unit within the centre, to expand on its counselling services (long-term, and towards minority groups including males, LGBTQ+ and marginalised ethnic groups).

It will also work to raise awareness surrounding sexual violence and how to work on its prevention, particularly in the workplace. It will foster engagement with the community and encourage a culture of compassion and consideration towards victims and their immediate support networks. 

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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