Big Lottery funds art therapy for survivors of sexual violence

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Survivors of sexual violence in Oban and surrounding areas are to get art therapy thanks to a £93,484 Big Lottery award.

Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis will use the money to fund one-to-one creative sessions over five years to help people who struggle to put thoughts and feelings about their experiences into words.

The Individual Survivor Art Therapy Programme project will be run by a qualified art therapist in safe, agreed spaces.

People can self-refer, come through their GPs, a mental health team  or they might already be getting help from the charity which supported more than 150 people in the region last year.

The sessions, using a host of visual and creative arts from painting to plaster cast crafting,  will be for survivors of  rape, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual bullying, stalking and commercial sexual exploitation.

‘The project is ready to go. We just need to get the word out to people,’ said Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis’ operational manager Nicola Hall.

She added: ‘We don’t put a time limit on the therapy that people get. It will be reviewed because we will want to see people are feeling better as a result of it.’

Ms Hall said Argyll and Bute’s need for help from Rape Crisis was in line with the rest of the country.

‘That often comes as a surprise. Some people think because it’s a nice, rural area that this kind of thing doesn’t happen -but it does – though there’s no more of a need than in other parts of Scotland.

‘The rurality might make it more difficult to access support or make it more difficult to disclose what’s happening so there are challenges.’

Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis has two support and advocacy workers based in Oban.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland chairman Maureen McGinn said she was delighted the charity had been successful in securing the grant.

‘The funding will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community.’

Anyone interesting in accessing the art therapy sessions should call 01369 700800. The charity’s helpline is 0800 121 4685.