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Community / Number of people accessing support from sexual violence charity rises again

Photo: The Compass Centre

NEARLY 100 people accessed help from Shetland’s sexual violence charity Compass Centre in 2022/23, new figures show.

These were 82 women, 14 men and one non-binary person.

Meanwhile 31 people accessed the Compass Centre’s advocacy service, which supports people through the process of reporting a sexual crime.

Sexual assault, rape and childhood sexual abuse were among the most common experiences of people seeking help from the charity.

Sexual harassment, grooming and online/image based abuse also featured.

People also experienced psychological abuse, intimidation and the use of alcohol or drugs to incapacitate someone.

Meanwhile the Compass Centre’s annual report adds that 18 people accessed counselling through the service.

Some of the most common effects of sexual violence reported by people using the service were anxiety, relationship/sexual problems, restrictions to activities and movements, depression, fear and loss of confidence.

During 2022/23 a total of 853 school pupils received prevention workshops from the Compass Centre.

Speaking in the annual report, Compass Centre trustee board chair Laura Hughes said it was a busy year with the number of people accessing support increasing again slightly from last year’s record high.

“Feedback forms from service users reflect the high quality of service, most importantly saying that they feel supported, safe and believed,” she said.

“The voices of survivors are always at the core of our service and this is credit to the staff’s outstanding work and care.”

It comes as the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign continues.

Lerwick Town Hall was lit orange with a Compass Centre flag flying high on Wednesday night.

The Compass Centre is also working on a project for release in the new year telling the anonymised stories of survivors in Shetland in video format.

The charity is also looking to recruit new trustees to join its board, and it welcomes applications from women of all ages and backgrounds with Shetland connections.

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