Our history

We have 30 years’ experience of supporting survivors of rape and sexual abuse to rebuild their lives.

Our early years

We were founded in 1992, when staff at the local sexual health clinic identified the need for a specialist service to support survivors of rape and sexual abuse. We initially obtained funding to set up a helpline service for two evenings a week. We recruited our first volunteers in 1993 and the helpline opened in September that year.

Over the next few years our services expanded and in 1995 we launched our face-to-face counselling service. The following year, our helpline service was extended to five evenings a week, to meet growing demand. 1996 saw RASASC achieve registered charity status from the Charity Commission.

Expanding our services

Our first paid worker, a part-time post, was recruited in 1997. In 1998, we introduced our self-help support groups and over the next few years recruited more volunteers for our helpline and counselling services. In 2002 we became a member of The Survivors Trust.

In 2010, thanks to funding from the Home Office, we recruited our first Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA). The ISVA service has steadily grown to meet the needs of survivors and we now have seven ISVAs supporting our clients. This includes two roles, recruited in 2018, that specialise in supporting people with complex mental health needs and young people from age 13 to 17.

We work hard to raise awareness in the community about the impact of rape and sexual abuse, and about the services we offer. In October 2017 we recruited a Community Engagement Officer to increase our activity in this area. This was followed in 2018 with the introduction of our Youth Support and Family Support counselling services.

Planning for the future

Like all in the voluntary sector, funding remains a challenge. In October 2016 RASASC recruited a part-time professional fundraiser. We have a robust fundraising strategy in place and are diversifying our funding streams to reduce our reliance on any one funding source. We aim for an equal funding split of one-third each from statutory sources, charitable trusts, and community and individual donations. We are fortunate to receive funding from the Ministry of Justice and the Police and Crime
Commissioner for Surrey.

Sadly there is no sign of any reduction in demand for our support. RASASC remains the only specialist rape and sexual abuse support service in Surrey working with women and men. We continue to expand the services that we offer, to help more and more survivors to overcome their abuse and rebuild their lives.