Aware launches S'pore's first care centre for sex abuse victims

Aware launches S'pore's first care centre for sex abuse victims

SINGAPORE - The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) has launched the Sexual Assault Care Centre (SACC), Singapore's first specialised drop-in centre supporting women who have been sexually assaulted.

It will be located at Aware's office in Dover Crescent, and opens from 10am to 7pm on weekdays.

Since 2011, AWARE's Sexual Assault Befrienders Service (SABS) has provided advice, assistance, legal and therapeutic counselling to victims of sexual assault.

From May 26, SABS will be replaced by the Sexual Assault Care Centre to better meet the needs of victims for immediate and holistic support.

SACC will broaden the suite of services offered in two key ways:

1. A new drop-in centre will provide a safe space where victims can immediately consult an on-site social worker and receive counselling, without any prior appointment.

2. Extended hours for the SACC helpline: The dedicated SACC helpline (6779 0282) will operate extended hours - running from 10am to midnight, instead of closing at 9.30pm. Members of the public can also seek assistance at sacc@aware.org.sg.

"SABS is a much needed service in Singapore," says Udhia Kumar, a social worker who works with women who have experienced violence in their lives. "With this upgrade to SACC, victims will be better able to get the specialised help and resources they need without being blamed or pressured in any way."

Women who have used the SABS service have found it very helpful. "When no one was there for me and no one trusted me, I found Aware where I felt listened to and believed, and found the courage to take action," said one client, who faced sexual harassment online for months and approached Aware for legal advice and its befriender service.

Aware will be working with restaurants and bars to spread the simple message that help is available for victims of sexual assault. Two F&B outlets have already agreed to help spread the word - Brewerkz will place 20 colourful eye-grabbing SACC stickers in the bathrooms of its Clarke Quay location, and Artistry will do the same in its cafe at Kampong Glam.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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