Rape Crisis Centres have experienced unprecedented demand for our specialist services in recent years with. Innovative approaches are needed to address increasing demand, improve access, reach and more readily available support. With more women and girls using the internet than ever before, digital technologies are becoming an integrated part of our daily lives and web-based services are rapidly expanding and routinely accessed. Yet there is no national resource specifically designed to provide the range of information and support that women and girl survivors of sexual violence want and need online.
Funded by the Big Lottery Women and Girl’s Initiative Strategic Fund over a 5 year period, the ‘Weaving the Web’ project aims to develop a platform from which a range of easily accessible specialist online services will be provided which complement and enhance Rape Crisis existing services. In addition to reducing waiting times for support we hope that women and girls who are unable to access face to face services will be able to receive support. We further intend and anticipate that the project will improve our reach to under-served women and girls, including BME, LBT and Disabled survivors.
The Weaving the Web project started in October 2016 with a two-year period of active engagement, consultation and development. At the heart of the project is the co-production with women from Rape Crisis centres, and women and girl survivors that characterises Rape Crisis England & Wales’ work. The national web platform and its online services are planned to be live and operational by October 2018 and we anticipate that 7000 women and girls will access the platform by October 2021.