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AWARE launches Singapore's first dedicated sexual assault care centre

The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) launches Sexual Assault Care Centre (SACC), aimed at supporting women who have been sexually assaulted.

SINGAPORE: The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) has launched Singapore's first specialised drop-in centre - Sexual Assault Care Centre (SACC), aimed at supporting women who have been sexually assaulted.

From May 26, AWARE's Sexual Assault Befrienders Service (SABS) will be replaced by the SACC to better meet the needs of sexual assault victims for immediate and holistic support. SABS has been providing advice, assistance, legal and therapeutic counselling to victims since 2011.

Last year, SABS received 192 calls and emails from women looking for help, an increase from 132 in 2012. In more than 80 per cent of the cases in 2013, the perpetrator was known to the victim. 

SACC will broaden the suite of services offered by introducing a new drop-in centre to provide a safe space where victims can immediately consult an on-site social worker. They will also extend the hours for the SACC helpline, running from 10am to midnight, instead of closing at 9.30pm.

On top of that, AWARE will refurbish an unused room in the AWARE centre to create a safe and comfortable space where clients can receive assistance and access resources on sexual assault.

Sexual assault remains one of the most under-reported crimes globally.

"Victims often find it hard to speak up even to friends and family, let alone report to police," said Corinna Lim, Executive Director of AWARE.

"They fear blame, disbelief or lengthy and complicated legal procedures. It is crucial for their recovery that they have access to the informed and non-judgmental support which a specialised service can provide," she added.

Social worker Udhia Kumar agrees. "SABS is a much needed service in Singapore. With this upgrade to SACC, victims will be better able to get the specialised help and resources they need without being blamed or pressured in any way."

AWARE will be working with restaurants and bars to spread the simple message that help is available for victims of sexual assault. 

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