It was a double celebration for RASASH at the Highland TSI Annual Awards 2023, as the team and volunteers were recognised for their life-changing work in the Highlands. The Award ceremony which took place on 1st September at the Strathpeffer Pavilion, and was a night to reward and celebrates the vital role of charities, community groups and volunteers across Highland.
RASAH – Rape and Sexual Abuse Service Highland won two awards, Reducing Vulnerability Award through Third Sector Activity and Volunteer of the Year for volunteer Lorna Stanger.
The Reducing Vulnerability through Third Sector Activity Award recognises good practice and innovation in directly trying to reduce the level of vulnerability which individuals living in Highland may experience.
Since opening in 2015, RASASH have received over 1,500 referrals from people affected by sexual violence in Highland and provided sexual violence prevention workshops to over 10,000 young people. They are currently supporting over 200 people with emotional and advocacy support.
RASASH continually strives to improve its service and regularly seeks input from survivors to help shape activities. From introducing group led programmes to revising the way they deliver their support sessions. This has helped to significantly reduce waiting times so that people are able to access support as soon as possible.
RASASH’s CEO Romy Rehfeld said:
“We are deeply honoured to receive this prestigious Award from Highland TSI for our commitment to reducing vulnerability within our community. This recognition is a testament to the tireless efforts of our dedicated team and the resilience of the survivors we stand alongside.
While this Award is a remarkable milestone, it also highlights the continued need for sustained funding for our vital service, in particular our Support Line and for larger premises with more support rooms to ensure we keep meeting survivors’ needs. We recognise that our work is far from done, and as we celebrate this achievement, we must also emphasise the urgency of securing resources to ensure our lifeline services remain available for survivors.“
The Volunteer of the Year Award recognises inspirational and extraordinary volunteers who make a significant impact within Highland. Lorna was nominated by the RASASH Team and her fellow volunteers.
Lorna has been a shining light for the RASASH Team, her fellow survivors of sexual violence and other volunteers. Helping to raise RASASH’s profile publicly and across her networks, particularly in her hometown area of Caithness, has been important to Lorna. She was a key speaker at RASASH’s most recent ‘Reclaim the Night’ March in Inverness, and ran 110 miles from Inverness to Thurso overnight in the dark, wind, and rain to raise much needed funds for the charity. Lorna is also a leading voice in RASASH’s Mockingjay Group which is made up of fellow volunteering survivors who advocate and campaign to end sexual violence
Lorna Stanger, Volunteer of the Year said:
“Having fallen prey to a perpetrator of such abuse, and being trapped in such a prison of pain, blame and shame, I’d never want anyone else to feel the same! They need to know that the shame and the blame doesn’t lie with them, it’s not their fault, it’s the perpetrator who has done wrong. They have a right to speak out and should not be silenced by the shame. I strive to help others know that they can get help and organisations like RASASH can provide support.”
RASASH’s CEO Romy Rehfeld said:
“We feel incredibly lucky to have a volunteer like Lorna and we wanted to acknowledge her for her efforts with a nomination for this award – we’re delighted that she won!
Lorna has played an important role in raising awareness of RASASH’s services and the problem of sexual violence in the Highlands. There is a misconception that sexual violence doesn’t happen in rural communities, so it is powerful to have people speak out and challenge this. Lorna has been working hard across networks in her hometown area of Caithness to achieve this.
Support is available to anyone affected by sexual violence, whether it happened recently or a long time ago. RASASH Support Line is available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – 9.30am-1pm and Tuesday and Thursday – 1pm-4.30pm on 03330 066909. Rape Crisis Scotland Support Line is open daily, 6pm-midnight on 08088 010302.”