Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad & Tobago
North Office: South Office:
No. 1 Robinsonville No.12 San Fernando Street
Belmont , Port of Spain San Fernando
Telephone:(Hotline 24hr) Telephone:(Hotline) 24hr
About The Rape Crisis Society
The Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago (RCS) is a non-profit , non-governmental organisation established in 1984. It began as an informal group in 1983 known as the Rape Crisis Committee. This group was formed as a result of a seminar on Rape and Violence hosted by Grace Talma & Associates and Educare Limited in 1983. The committee comprised ten persons from Various professional groups, such as the Police, Prisons, Regiment and Social Workers.
The Committee sought funding from the Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) and an initial sum was received. Part of this sum was used to engage the services of Mrs Ann Sparks who at the time was in charge of the crisis centre at the St. Vincent Hospital, New York.
Ms Sparks provided a week of training for the original members.
Subsequent to the first training course , a Hotline Service was established. This service operated three nights per week for three hours 6.00-9.00pm at the Catholic Centre, a Roman Catholic establishment that accommodates support services of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Rape Crisis Centre however, remained non-partisan. This completed phase one of the projected plans of the Rape Crisi Centre.
Phase two became operational in August 1985, with the employment of a full time Co-ordinator. In November of the same year a counsellor was employed and the counselling services were extended to 8.00am – 4.00pm walk in Services
The Committee then concentrated on other areas of concern which were:
-Face to face and group counselling which aimed to empower men, women and children out of, and beyond existing conflictive and crisis circumstances, restoring levels of confidence and self esteem to clients
-24 hour integrated services , which would be recognised by the authorities and the community
In 1986, The Rape Crisis Centre sought legal advice to develop a constitution and registration as a charitable organisation. The Constitution was adopted in 1986, and in November 1986 the organisation was legally registered. It was henceforth referred to as the Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago.
As the society developed its programme in 1989, the objectives were outlined as follows:
-To Lobby for the development of laws, institutions and procedures to protect women and children and to deter would- be offenders
-To educate the public and would-be offenders about sexual violence issues through our outreach programmes (Lectures, workshops, panel discussion, videos)
-To improve the quality of service and support provided by the centre especially in the counselling of volunteers and clients
-To maintain and establish links with organisations devoted to the empowerment and advancement of women and with other institutions concerned with social development and research
-To improve organisation structures and systems , and the overall management of the Rape Crisis Society.
In 1990 the society developed its mission statement. It states:
”The Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago is established to address the issues of sexual and Domestic Violence, particularly as they impact on the most vulnerable members of society, through counselling and public education. The Rape Crisis Society is a focal point for active work towards change in all areas affecting these issues.
Since our inception in1984, we have implemented a number of activities , which we have identified as important and necessary to fulfil the needs of the survivors of abuse.
1. The society offers free face to face professional counselling and referral services to person in the following areas:
Child Sexual Abuse/Incest
2. The Education /Outreach programmes are meant to assist the public in understanding and dealing effectively with the issues of rape, child sexual abuse/incest, buggery, human sexuality and wife battering. These programmes may take the form of video/discussion, lectures/discussion workshops and /or interactive drama. Volunteers and staff members of the Rape Crisis Society facilitate these programmes. Requests come from schools, church groups service organisations, the University, other NGOs, community groups and other organisations.
3. The Agro Processing Project began in 1993 to give support and impart skills to survivors of rape and sexual violence. Research has shown that often survivors are not skilled nor are they in any financial position to take control of their lives and move away from the abusive environment.The Ten-week (10) programme, which aims to give needy survivors a head start seeks to empower the participants in culinary skills. In addition to the skills training component of this programme, there are individual and group counselling sessions, a Health Education workshop and a small business training component. On an average, 12-15 women participate in these programmes/cycles per session. In the year 2001 one male participant was registered. Every year 3 or 4 programmes/cycles are conducted.
4.Basic and Advanced Counselling Courses are provided yearly to sensitise our members and the public in dealing with issues of sexual and domestic abuse. Volunteers/members of the society are expected upon acceptance to participate in the basic counselling course. These courses are also opened to the general public. A cost is attached to these course with a member and non-member fee structure. These fees cover the facilitators’ stipend, meals and other administrative expenses.
5.Public Speaking /Outreach workshop: This workshop trains personnel(Volunteer members)in the art of public speaking on the issues of sexual violence which enables the society to facilitate the many requested outreach programmes.
6.Survivors’ Support Group: This project began recently giving support to survivors of sexual abuse. meeting are held every fourth Thursday of the month at the centre’s office:
40 woodford street,Newton, Port of Spain.
This therapeutic group gives survivors an opportunity to discuss issues pertinent to them.
7. The Community Caravan has its basis in the themes and recommendations arising out of the United Nations ”International year of the Family”,1994. Its mission is to stimulate community action and community programmes that focus on family life and values, non-violent forms of conflict management and resolution, and improve levels of self esteem. The Caravan was established in 1995