The Galway Rape Crisis Centre responded to 1,322 helpline calls, dealt with 256 new clients and delivered prevention and awareness training to more than a 1,000 people last year.
Eimear Fisher, the director of Cosc, the national office for the prevention of domestic, sexual and gender based violence, will launch the centre’s strategic plan for 2009-2011 tomorrow (Friday ). It outlines the development of the centre from 2008 to 2011 and includes plans to source additional funding, evaluate the education service and employ a male education worker.
The Galway Rape Crisis Centre has grown to become the largest member of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland and currently employs 12 part-time staff, 14 volunteer counsellors as well as numerous fundraising and support volunteers.
Funding remains a substantial challenge for the facility which relies on fundraising to pay for day-to-day operational costs. Part funded by the HSE, its operational costs last year were almost €431,000. Some €155,732 of this came from once-off grants/fundraising/donations.
The centre is spearheading a fundraising campaign to acquire a new building. Currently based between two locations, it says a single site location would enable it to increase capacity and client hours therefore minimising waiting lists for counselling.
“Next year sees 25 years of the Galway Rate Crisis Centre providing services to clients. As we approach this milestone we are acutely aware of an increasing demand for our services and the implications this has on our existing budgets,” says Aoibheann McCann, acting executive director of Galway Rape Crisis Centre.
“This plan sets out how the centre will address the need to cater for both increasing demand and diversity in clients and also outlines our plans to source funds to provide additional external and regional services in Galway county.”
Ms Mc Cann says she is delighted that Eimear Fisher is free to launch the centre’s strategic plan.
“ As director of the dedicated Government office with key responsibility to ensure the delivery of a co-ordinated response to domestic, sexual and gender based violence she is well placed to understand the issues facing organisations such as ourselves.”
Providing a quality counselling and support service for male and female survivors of sexual violence and abuse, the Galway Rape Crisis Centre also lobbies State and educational establishments for an end to cultural and societal tolerance of these issues.