Aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of sexual violence and supporting those who have experienced it, Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland have developed two workshops: Adult Rape and Sexual Assault Awareness; and Sexual Violence and Older Women Awareness.
Sue Pearce MBE, CEO of Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland, said: “We wanted to make sure the Covid-19 restrictions we were all having to live and work under didn’t paralyse our ability to offer and deliver the training we know people and organisations find so valuable.
“When the first lockdown came into effect in March, we were finalising new training workshops focused on the issue of sexual violence against older women, as part of a programme funded by Comic Relief.
“When it became clear we weren’t going to be able to deliver training sessions in the usual way, we started work on putting together digital options which could be undertaken and completed remotely and at a time convenient to the trainee.”
Using a powerful combination of real-life case studies alongside thought-provoking information and statistics, the training is delivered through an engaging mix of written and audio-visual content.
After completing the course, participants will have a greater understanding of the prevalence, impact and societal context of rape and sexual assault. They will also understand the barriers which may make it difficult for a victim to disclose their experience and seek support – and how those barriers can be overcome.
Sue said: “Increasing general awareness of the issues surrounding rape and sexual violence is vital in order to help more survivors feel they can safely seek the support and help they need.
“These courses are designed to enable organisations of all sizes to promote greater understanding and awareness around this subject. This will help create an atmosphere where employees who have experienced sexual violence will feel safer in disclosing it, and their colleagues will be better prepared to offer the right support.”
Feedback from the online training has been universally positive, with participants appreciating the flexibility and accessibility of the courses as well as commenting on the value of the content and how user friendly the process is.
Following a pilot training project, comments from participants included:
“I found this training informative and reassuring as I now feel confident about dealing sensitively and appropriately should anybody choose to disclose any experience of rape or sexual assault.”
“It certainly held my interest and was well paced and varied – interesting and sobering facts interspersed with very powerful case studies and videos.”
“This is an uncomfortable subject that people probably don’t really want to think about. But it does happen and women need to be supported. It would help to raise the awareness of the difficulties older women can face in seeking help. Also to help break down the stereotypes portrayed in the media as being only young women are sexually assaulted.”
“I learnt a lot and will take a lot of it away to reflect on and I am certain it will help me in my direct work with older women.”
Sue said: “We’ve been really pleased with how the online courses have been received and are confident they will be a valuable and important addition to our training programme.”
The Adult Rape and Sexual Assault Awareness Training Course costs £35.99 per person and the Sexual Violence and Older Women Awareness Training is £32.99 per person.
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Notes to Editors
About Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland
Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland (RCTN) is a charity that provides services to women and girls who live, work or study in Tyneside and Northumberland.
RCTN services are for women and girls over 13 who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives.
The charity is completely independent of the criminal justice system including the police and offers confidential counselling, advocacy, helpline, email support, specialist information and ISVA services. All RCTN services are free, safe and professional.
All RCTN staff and volunteers are women who are trained and experienced in working with women who have experienced sexual violence.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland have continued to offer support to victims and survivors, offering telephone and online counselling services. For more information, visit https://rctn.org.uk/get-help/counselling/