We are launching an exciting new project, funded by Comic Relief, looking at the needs and experiences of women* over 55, across the South West of England, who have experienced sexual violence.

Based on census research and the statistic that 1 in 5 women will be impacted by sexual violence, we estimate that there are around 176,000 survivors of rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse, over the age of 55, living in the South West of England. At SARSAS, less than 8% of our service users are aged 55-64 and only 2%of our service users are aged 65+.

This means that women over the age of 55 are not receiving the specialist support they deserve to help them recover from these experiences and rebuild their lives.

Working with our sister centres, The Women’s Centre Cornwall, Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services and Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, we aim to identify and reduce barriers to specialist support for these women by:

  • conducting a needs assessment across the South West
  • seeking input from women 55+ through focus groups
  • creating support and information resources for women 55+
  • raising awareness of the issue and myths surrounding sexual violence related to women 55+
  • collaborating and creating ongoing relationships with aged care services to provide clear pathways of support for women 55 and over who have experienced sexual violence.

Would you like to be involved?

Our recent survey for women 55 and over has now closed. We want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who completed it. We will be using the information from the survey to produce targeted support information and leaflets for women 55+.

In November, we will be running focus groups, across the South West, with women 55+ to help us develop this support information. If you would like take part in these, please let us know.

If you have any questions about the project please get in touch on info@sarsas.org.uk or call our Bristol office on 0117 929 9556.

*Anyone who identifies as a woman.