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250 people have used Jersey rape charity

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AROUND 250 people have been supported by Jersey’s only rape crisis charity since its launch five years ago, and its chairwoman says the organisation is now so busy it needs extra volunteers.

Sara McIntosh, chairperson, and Jayne Gruchy, office manager Picture: ROB CURRIE. (26948245)

An average of almost one new client contacts Jersey Action Against Rape every week. Since the charity was established in 2015, more than 2,200 free counselling hours have been provided to victims, who the charity prefers to call ‘survivors’.

Those clients include men and women over the age of 17 who have experienced rape or sexual assault at any point in their lives, either recently or in the past.

JAAR does not currently work with children but hopes one day to be able to extend its services to do so.

Chairwoman Sara McIntosh said the charity had recently been able to advertise for two part-time paid counsellor positions. However, the rest of the work is carried out by a team of nine professional counsellors who give up their time voluntarily.

‘If we could raise the funds we would like to have more paid counsellors,’ said Mrs McIntosh, who is the subject of the Saturday Interview in this weekend's JEP.

‘That is one of our aims over the next five years. But really to have more volunteer counsellors come forward for now would be great. They receive free training from experts in the area that we will bring over from the UK and we support them in that training.

‘It is a really interesting role and there is a lovely team here; we all work closely together. But we are very busy and we do need to try to get more volunteers.’

The charity, which runs a helpline and also provides free counselling to those who use the Island’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, is running two training sessions in the next few months which new volunteers can attend.

The first is being run by sexual trauma expert Zoe Lodrick on 15 and 16 February and then on 25 and 26 April another expert in the field, Debbie Woodruff, is due to visit the Island.

For more information contact JAAR by emailing admin@jaar.je.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
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