A center that supports victims of rape and sexual assault in Lancashire says the number of people using its services has doubled in 20 years.
Since it opened in 2002, the SAFE Center at Royal Preston Hospital has supported more than 10,000 people who have been raped or sexually abused, from the very young to the elderly.
The center combines forensic and medical care for victims, helps collect evidence and provides aftercare.
Kate Robertshaw, who has been the centre’s director for 19 years, said: “We see people at their most vulnerable… You will always remember certain cases.
“For me, these were all cases that reminded me of my own children.”
The center can advise you on what support is available in your area and work closely with the Royal Preston Hospital and Lancashire Police.
In addition to providing immediate follow-up care, they can also provide assistance with police and court proceedings with an Independent Sexual Violence Counselor (ISVA) and Child and Youth Advocate (CYPA).
Once at the center, a crisis worker helps guide people through the evidence-gathering process while providing someone to listen and a place to rest.
Daisy, who was a victim of sexual assault and is now a crisis worker, said: “They took over and took the burden off me…they ask for consent for everything, even to touch my hand.”
Since the center opened, referrals have doubled to 700 people each year, with no sign of slowing down.
The center provides support in times of extreme difficulty, helping people when they need it most.
“At the time when you felt like your body wasn’t yours, having someone ask your permission to perform certain procedures was so important that it was the start of me reclaiming my own body,” Daisy added added.