Hidden Depths: a detailed study of Rape Crisis data

Lovett, Jo and Kelly, Liz (2016) Hidden Depths: a detailed study of Rape Crisis data. Project Report. Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University, London.


There is currently a network of 45 Rape Crisis Centres (RCCs) providing specialist services primarily to women and girls, but also to men and boys, who have experienced rape, childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and/or other forms of sexual violence. RCCs offer a wide range of practical and emotional support for survivors, supporters and professionals through telephone helplines, face-to-face counselling and support, group work, advocacy, outreach, prevention work and training for external agencies.

Since the late 1970s, RCCs have provided services to women and girls in a woman-centred environment, working from a feminist perspective and within a framework of empowerment (Women’s Resource Centre & Rape Crisis England and Wales, 2008). A core aim of the national Rape Crisis network, Rape Crisis England and Wales (RCEW), is to raise awareness of the realities and impacts of sexual violence (RCEW & RCS, 2012), including the often overlooked needs of adult survivors of CSA.

The Hidden Depths project created an unprecedented opportunity to explore what data held by 18 RCCs in England revealed about sexual violence. The aims of the project were to provide RCEW and the public with a better understanding of who accesses their services in terms of: demographic and socio-economic profile; violence profile; nature and extent of service contact and referral patterns. Another aim was to understand the limitations and opportunities of the RCC’s routinely collated data and make recommendations for further analyses and data collation. The research team, from London Metropolitan University, in collaboration with a Working Group made up of RCC members, met periodically to review the findings and discuss the implications for future data collection.

Hidden-Depths-Briefing-1-FINAL.pdf.pdf - Published Version

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