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  • Caroline Burrell, Centre Director

Become our Friend: 41 years of Rape Crisis in Edinburgh and our services have never been so needed

41 years ago this week, on 1 July 1978, Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre was founded by a group of women who wanted to create a safe and confidential space for women who had experienced sexual violence. We were the third Rape Crisis Centre to open in the UK, and the second in Scotland, following London and Glasgow. The opening of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre was marked with a vigil on Princes Street, led by this group of powerful volunteers and activists.

In 1978 there were 10 phone calls to the helpline from survivors. In the past year, we supported over 600 people and received over 400 new referrals to our service. We are now experiencing an unprecedented level of need for our services, with our waiting list doubling over the past year.

Edinburgh Rape Crisis has never been more desperately needed, but the centre has come a long way in its first four decades. Since being established by a group of volunteers founded on a premise of women supporting women, we have supported thousands of survivors - and provide support to survivors across Edinburgh and East and Mid Lothian, and are fully trans inclusive. We now comprise of 27 staff members (equating to 15 full-time equivalent staff), 8 volunteers and 10 trustees.

We offer a dedicated specialist support service for young survivors, an advocacy service for survivors navigating the criminal justice system, and prevention outreach education in East, Mid, West Lothian and Edinburgh City as part of Rape Crisis Scotland's national prevention network. Ultimately, from 1978 to 2019, day in, day out, Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre has been, and continues to, work to challenge attitudes, and change lives. We have been through quite a journey over the past 41 years, filled with both challenges and successes, and would like to say a huge thank you to our supporters and funders.

The world in which we operate has changed extensively over the 41 years Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre has been serving our communities in Edinburgh, East and Midlothian. In the past few years, we have seen the emergence of the #metoo movement with its central message, which echoes our own: that of listening, believing, and supporting. As people around the world have candidly shared their experiences of sexual assault and rape, we have witnessed a concurrent increase in the number of survivors referring into our services.

We need your help now more than ever. As the demand on our service increases, any contribution you can make will help us keep supporting survivors of sexual violence.

Our Friends of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre is for those who wish to give regularly and make a difference by ensuring that our work to change lives continues.

Stand with us against gender-based violence and pledge your support for survivors by becoming a Friend of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre by setting up a regular donation from just £3 a month.


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Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre offers free and confidential support to women, all members of the trans community, non-binary people and young people aged 12 -18 who have experienced sexual violence at any time in their lives.


For more information about our work and our services, visit our website

If you're seeking support, please visit our support page

Rape Crisis Scotland helpline: 08088 010302. Open 6pm-midnight, free from landlines and most mobile providers


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