Awareness and funding struggles are at the heart of a new short documentary that sheds light on the Donegal Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (DSARCC).
Premiered last Friday, the short film offers an inside look at a vital service that faces a challenge to stay afloat.
From free counselling and therapeutic sessions to crucial information services, the team empowers individuals aged 12 and upwards to navigate the aftermath of trauma.
Despite the hope and support provided by the team, a constant battle for funding casts a shadow over their operations.
The documentary highlights a pilot programme on sexual consent education for teenagers that had to be withdrawn due to the loss of funding. As a result, the centre could no longer employ their Education Officer, who worked with schools and community groups to empower young people with consent education.
Meanwhile, there are new referrals every week and a growing waiting list. DSARCC relies on funding from TUSLA, The Community Foundation’s Toy Show Fund and community fundraisers.
Manager Marina Porter stressed the importance of keeping the services free.
Speaking at the launch of the documentary, Marina said “This hopefully will help people see more about the service and cancel some of the taboos with coming to a centre like ours.
“To see it’s a service staffed by ordinary people for ordinary people who have had some of the most horrendous crimes committed against them. They are not alone.”
Marina added that it was a novel experience to sit in front of a camera to speak about her work, but that it was important to overcome nerves to take part.
“If our clients are brave enough to share their stories and their pain with us, the very least we can do is be on screen if it helps someone pick up the phone or come in the door.”
Local filmmaker Michael Andrew Bonner and Director Producer GemmaMarie Boyle of Oath Studios partnered with the DSARCC to bring their story to life.
Michael said it was an honour to work with the centre.
“The way the 21st century is moving, everything is media-based. When we started collaborating with the Donegal Rape Crisis Centre we wanted to fill a gap that we knew we could do, we wanted to make a film they could show to potential benefactors and to raise money,” he said.
“To be part of the process was educating and enlightening.”
GemmaMarie added: “Obviously it is a dark subject but we wanted it to also have a message of hope, to show that good things happen too. Some people don’t even know that the service exists, which is why I wanted to help.”
The documentary launch was accompanied by a raffle generously supported by local businesses, raising much-needed funds for the centre’s future. To donate online, visit: www.idonate.ie/cause/donegalrapecrisis
To discuss fundraising, contact info@donegalrapecrisiscentre or call 07491 28211.
Donegal Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre Telephone Helpline:
T: 074 91 28211 – 10am – 4pm – Monday – Friday
Freephone: 1800 44 88 44
E: email@example.com for appointments or
Donegal Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) – 087 068 1964
National 24hr Helpline: 1800 77 88 88
DSARCC works closely with the Donegal Women’s Domestic Violence Service to refer victims to the necessary supports.
The Donegal Domestic Violence Service helpline number is 1800 262 677. This is also a 24/7 helpline.
Anyone who is a victim of the crime of Domestic Abuse or Sexual Violence should contact their local Garda District Headquarters or in an emergency call 999/112.