Rape crisis centre for East Enders to open

EAST Enders are to benefit from a rape crisis centre in neighbouring Hackney.

Counsellors are being recruited for the new centre, which is due to open within the next few weeks and will offer support and counselling to both men and women, as well as teenagers aged 14 and over, who have been raped or sexually abused.

The news comes after last week’s announcement that a new east London centre, which will serve Tower Hamlets Hackney, Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest opened in Ilford.

Both centres are not linked to police investigations and victims also do not need to have reported their assault to police to get help.

Research shows that many ask for help years, or even decades after they have been attacked.

Previously the capital only had one Rape Crisis Centre and residents from across the capital had to travel to Croydon to receive the support they need.

MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott campaigned for provision in east London.

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She said: “I am pleased that Boris has kept his promise and has opened a crisis service in Hackney.

“It is a great thing that vulnerable men and women will have a specialised service to turn to, especially as our borough suffers from a high level of gang rape involving young women.”

Initially there will be a maximum of 10 sessions per week at Hackney and 15 sessions per week at Ilford, which will be extended as demand increases.

One victim who was helped by the Croydon centre said: “This was the first place who actually understood what I was going through and what I needed. I saw a counsellor every week for 12 months, and it is no overstatement to say that it saved my life.”

Ms Abbott, who is also shadow minister for public health, put pressure on London Mayor, Boris Johnson in March to fulfil his promise of providing four Rape Crisis centres in London by the end of the year and encouraged him to consider opening a centre in Hackney.

To access the service phone the helpline on 0808 802 9999. It is open every day of the year from midday to 2.30pm and 7pm to 9.30pm.