Sex case reports highest in region

HAWICK has the highest number of referrals to the Borders Rape Crisis Centre.

Of the 43 dealt with during 2011/12 nine came from the town, with seven from Galashiels, five from Eyemouth and Selkirk, four from Innerleithen and Duns, two from Melrose and Peebles and one from Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

And Rape Crisis Centre service coordinator Dawn Osborne revealed that of the 67 referrals so far for 2012/13, an estimated 22 per cent are from Hawick.

She told the Hawick News: “Data always has two sides and we look on this as being a good thing in that we are actually finding out about it and more people are reporting it.

“But we are also aware that this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Historical childhood sexual abuse made up almost half of the total cases, with 13 victims reporting incidents which had taken place when they were 12 or under.

And Ms Osborne said that theme was also common in the referrals from Hawick.

“There may be more people seeing the promotion or being told about the service from agencies. We have a good relationship with agencies in the Hawick area,” said Ms Osborne, who is the only full-time member of staff at the centre.

“There has also been the recent media attention. Every time somebody sees something on the television or in the paper, if they’ve been affected themselves, it can act as a
trigger to talk to somebody about it.”

The rape centre’s findings also highlighted the problems survivors have with moving on from their ordeals, with more than a third of referrals unemployed.

Other statistics showed 40 out of the 43 referrals were women.

And 12 of the 43 cases had not been reported to the police, with the centre believing that figure could be even higher.

Based in Galashiels, the centre is paid for through the Scottish Government’s Violence Against Women funding, while small amounts of cash are accessed through trusts and charities.

Ms Osborne said: “One of the big concerns we have is that our volunteers come and go because their circumstances change. We have to fund training which is extremely resource intensive and costs a lot of money as it takes three months to go through it.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can contact the office on 01896 661070. While the Centre helpline is 0800 054 2445.