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International Women's Day Press Release





Press Release - International Women’s Day, 8th March 2017

An estimated four in ten women (42%) experience some form of sexual violence or child sexual abuse in their lifetimei.

#Beboldforchange on International Women's Day


Today is International Women’s Day and local charity CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse) is highlighting the huge and devastating impact that sexual violence and child sexual abuse has on the lives of women and girls.   With an estimated four in ten women (42%) experiencing some form of sexual violence or child sexual abuse in their lifetime,i CARA is calling for people to #beboldforchange to create a more gender equal world, where women and girls can be safe from sexual violence and free from abuse.


CARA has been supporting women and girls affected by sexual violence since 1989.  Over the last 5 years alone, CARA has provided specialist support for over 2000 women and girls from across mid and north Essex.     Through its work, CARA has found:


  • Women and girls of all ages experience sexual violence.    CARA has supported girls as young as 3 and women in their 80s.   A quarter of the women and girls that CARA supports are aged between 18 and 24.  1 in 8 are under 18.
  • Sexual violence and sexual abuse by strangers is rare.   93% of the women and girls that CARA supports were abused by someone that they already knew and may have trusted and sometimes even loved.   More than a third (36%) of women and girls were abused by acquaintances, friends, school-mates or work colleagues.   30% were abused by family members, including fathers, grandfathers, brothers and uncles and 22% were abused by current or ex-partners, husbands or boyfriends.
  • Adult women seek CARA’s support following both recent incidents of sexual violence and to deal with the long-lasting impact of sexual abuse they experienced as a child.  56% of CARA’s adult women clients sought support because of recent incidents and 44% because of child sexual abuse. 

CARA’s Director, Helen Parr, said.   “Women and girls who have been victims of sexual violence and child sexual abuse often experience profound trauma, depression, anxiety, severe loss of confidence and feelings of shame or guilt, as well as extreme difficulties forming relationships and trusting others. They may experience flashbacks, nightmares or panic attacks.  They may feel unable to cope with everyday life and feel hopeless about the future.   On International Women’s Day we are calling for people to be #boldforchange on sexual violence.   We need to acknowledge the devastating and long-term impact that sexual violence has on the lives of women and girls, and to face up to the fact that sexual violence is a major problem– affecting huge numbers of women and girls.”


Victims and survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse can contact CARA for support by telephoning 01206 769795, or by completing an online self-referral form, available on the CARA website


Victims across Essex can access support services by telephoning 0300 003 7777 or through  -  the website of the Essex Partnership of Rape Crisis Centres, of which CARA is a partner.


Notes for Editors

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. The theme for International Women's Day 2017 is #BeBoldForChange where participants are asked to call on the masses or call on themselves to help forge a better working world
- a more inclusive, gender equal world.

CARA (Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse) is a registered charity providing independent, specialist support for adults, young people and children who have experienced any type of sexual violence or child sexual abuse.   CARA works with victims and survivors of sexual violence from across mid and north Essex.   CARA is a member of Rape Crisis England and Wales.


For more information, please contact:

Helen Parr, Director 01206 367881 or 07855 264864, or Sarah Clementson, Manager  01206 367881 or 07432 721648



[i] Based on prevalence identified in The SAVI Report: Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland, 2002.  The SAVI report is   a national study of Irish experiences, beliefs and attitudes concerning sexual violence.  Researchers believe that experiences of sexual violence in the UK are likely to be very similar.