Trans and non-binary survivors of sexual violence should be able to safely access existing support spaces, as well as having specialised spaces, declare local organisations Survivors’ Network and Switchboard. Together Switchboard and Survivors Network have released a report summarising our findings from a consultation and group run for trans and non-binary survivors of sexual violence in Sussex.
The two organisations worked together, through joint funding provided by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, to consult the local trans, non-binary and intersex community on their needs and to seek to create a safe, supportive space for survivors to share their experiences and provide peer support.
The project was created to address the fact that trans and non-binary people who have experienced sexual violence often struggle to find appropriate, inclusive support, and sought to understand what organisations can do to improve access.
The report details the project’s success, shares comments from group member’s feedback and makes a series of recommendations for services who support survivors of sexual violence and abuse.
The recommendations are:
- Trans inclusion in existing spaces
- Trans & non-binary specific spaces (never at the expense of access elsewhere)
- Service user involvement
- Wide ranging, flexible, accessible support not tethered to the criminal justice system
- Staff training, development and recruitment
Survivors’ Network CEO Jay Breslaw said of the project:
“We are so proud to share this work with our fellow Rape Crisis Centres, who we know are passionate about ensuring that all survivors are made to feel supported, listened to and believed. We hope that the recommendations from this report can go some way to helping us and other centres to ensure that trans and non-binary survivors are getting the level of care they deserve.”
Switchboard CEO Jacob Bayliss said:
“This is an incredibly important piece of work that speaks to the need for truly inclusive services and models a community-led approach to shaping and improving provision alongside survivors. Working with Survivors’ Network has been such a rewarding process and together we’ve learned so much that we hope we can share with any group or organisation wanting to hold a space for trans and non-binary survivors or simply to better understand the issues and ideas around inclusion.”
Katy Bourne, Police & Crime Commissioner for Sussex said:
“I welcome the publication of today’s report. We will only make progress in ensuring that services are accessible for trans and non-binary survivors of abuse if we listen and learn from their direct experience. As the report concludes, this represents the start of a conversation about how we can “dream big” in developing responsive and inclusive services and I look forward to being a part of that conversation.”
The report highlighted the importance of the group that was developed within this project, and the impact that ending it due to funding expiring had on group members. Survivors’ Network are actively seeking funding for the continuation of this vital group.
Rape and sexual abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, culture or social status. If you have experienced sexual violence at any point in your life then you can contact Survivors’ Network on 01273 203380, via email on [email protected] or see www.survivorsnetwork.org.uk for details of their services.