After a period of planning which lasted around two years, Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre opened on 1 July 1978 with a vigil on Princes Street and extensive coverage in the press and on TV and radio. We were the third rape crisis centre to open in the UK. The others are London and Glasgow.
The Centre was set up by women who were involved in the Women’s Movement, who wanted to provide a safe and confidential space for women who had been raped. The original premises were on Forth Street and the Centre was funded by private donations.
The ways of working established then still provide the framework for work 39 years on: confidentiality; individual face-to-face support sessions; refusal to use the word victim; and work towards changing attitudes in society towards rape.
In 1978 there were 10 phone calls to the helpline from women. In 2015-16 we supported 589 services users and received 214 new referrals.
If you are interested in the history of the Rape Crisis movement in Scotland, Rape Crisis Scotland produced a book, Woman to Woman: An Oral History of Rape Crisis in Scotland, 1976-1991, which you can read online here.