Share this article Share Sheffield University has announced plans to create a new sexual assault support and support services centre, with a team of volunteers working in a community environment.
The centre, set up by the university’s Rape Crisis Centre, will offer support for women and men who have experienced sexual assault or are concerned about their safety, as well as people who are seeking to make a complaint about sexual assault.
The university said in a statement: “We want to make it clear that we support the people of Sheffield who are survivors of sexual assault and have concerns about their wellbeing.”
We recognise that this is an extremely complex area and that it is vital that we engage with those who are experiencing trauma, and are supported in this important work.
“A safe and welcoming environment is the first step towards making this happen, and the university is committed to supporting people who need help.”
The centre will provide a safe and supportive space where people can get support and advice.
The team of staff will be based in the Sheffield Hallam Student Union (SHU) building on the University of Sheffield campus.
The SHU is currently home to a Women’s Resource Centre (WRCC), a Sexual Assault Centre (SAC), and a Sexual Health Centre.
The women’s centre, the University’s Rape Centre, is currently housed at a local university.
The University of Leeds also has a WRCC.
“There are a lot of people at the University who need to feel safe and supported,” said Professor Sally White, director of the Sexual Assault Resource Centre at the university.
“The WRCC, SAC and SAC Centre will be here to support them, to support the women who have been impacted by this, and to support those who have made a complaint.”
Professor White said it was important for universities to have a “safe and supportive environment”.
“We need to make sure that these facilities are there to support people who have a trauma, to help them to make their case to the authorities, and also to be a place for people to be able to get advice,” she said.
“So we have a safe place where people who might feel uncomfortable can come and have their say.”‘
We need people to come and talk to us’The university said that if someone was experiencing a trauma or a sexual offence, they could seek support through the Sexual Violence Support Centre.
“They can go to our Sexual Violence Resource Centre and they can get help,” said a university spokesman.
“They can come in, they can speak to someone who’s experienced trauma and it will be there to help.”
The spokesperson added that the centre would be “working to ensure that people are safe and that we are able to support our students and staff as we go forward”.
The university has a range of support services available to students and their families, including a support team, counselling, legal advice, support for survivors, and a national support service.
It also runs a number of crisis and support centres, including one for survivors of rape and sexual assault, and one for people who feel their experience of sexual violence has made them anxious or scared.
Professor White, who said she had not been to the centre herself, said the centre was a good start, but added that “it is important that the university work with the people who come through this centre.”
“The WRRC and SRC centres are important, but they are not the whole of it.
There are other support services,” she added.
“There is an opportunity to create those services in the community, but we need people who can come to our services and support centre and talk and talk.”
The university’s rape crisis centre is part of the Sheffield University Sexual Violence and Safety Partnership, which has a focus on “community building, safe spaces and prevention”.
“We are committed to providing the support and services necessary to those who need it most, in order to ensure safe, supportive and confidential spaces for survivors to come together and have a meaningful conversation with other survivors,” a statement from the partnership read.
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This is an ongoing process and we will continue to engage with our members and staff to ensure we provide a supportive and respectful space for our members, the wider community and the wider Sheffield community.”
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