In 1990 the Society developed its Mission Statement as follows:
"The Rape Crisis Society is established to address the issues of Sexual and Domestic Violence, particularly as they impact on the most vulnerable members of society, through counseling and public education. The Rape Crisis Society is a focal point for active work towards change in all areas affecting these issues".
Since our inception in 1984 we have implemented a number of activities which we have identified as important and necessary to fulfill the needs of the survivors of abuse. The Society therefore offers free and professional counseling and referral services to persons with the following social problems:
* Child Sexual Abuse/Incest
* Domestic Violence
* Family Problems
* Personal Conflicts
Between 1985 - 1997, 2,317 new persons were counseled. Aside from the counseling and referral services, training for our volunteers and interested persons is a priority. The main purpose is to equip volunteers with the techniques of Crisis Intervention and Human Sexuality.
The Rape Crisis Society has also expanded its services to the South of Trinidad to Serve the need of the national community in this area.
Our Outreach programmes are meant to assist the public in understanding and dealing effectively with the issues of rape, child sexual abuse/incest, buggery, human sexuality and wife battering. The programmes may take the form of a video discussion, lecture/discussion workshops and, or interactive drama. These programmes are facilitated by volunteers and staff members of the Rape Crisis Society.
The Society has facilitated programmes at all levels of the educational system, from preschool to tertiary institutions. We have also facilitate programmes at service organizations (Lions and Rotary Clubs), religious organizations, Children's Homes, Prison and Police Services; Men's and Women's Groups, village Councils and Youth Groups.
The Outreach programmes have also been expanded with the addition of our Community Caravan Project. Community Caravan is a weekend (3 days) intervention designed to stimulate community action and community programmes focusing on family life and non-violent forms of behaviour. Rape Crisis Society also trains lay-counselors in the community as part of the programme. The weekend programme is managed by a Caravan Co-ordinator
The thrust of our programmes is curative but prevention is high on our agenda. Between 1986 -1997; 853 Public Education Programmes were conducted.
The link between domestic violence, low self-esteem and financial dependence of a woman on her spouse has been dearly established. Therefore in an effort to assist our clientele, the Rape Crisis Society organized and developed the Agro Processing (1993) and the Sew Shop (1994) projects. Both of these projects help women acquire marketable skills. They also participate in a Small Business Training Course which assist them in the transition from using these skills not only to assist them at home but also the reality of using these skills for profit. These programmes from their inception were opened only to women who were survivors of sexual and domestic abuse for their empowerment. However, the Society saw the need to empower all women, therefore the programmes now accommodate all unemployed women who are interested in the courses offered. These programmes are sponsored by the Ministry of Social Development Trinidad & Tobago and the Royal Netherlands Embassy respectively.
Small grants have also been given to our organization from the Global and for women, MATCH International and Women's affairs. The Community Caravan Project is funded by BILANCE, MATCH International and the Ministry or Community development; Culture and Women's Affairs, Trinidad & Tobago.
What we Need...
Locally, support has been forthcoming through donations. The financial support of the RCS however is gradually dwindling due to economic constraints. Funding agencies are stressing that their support is not continuous and is not for personnel and general overhead cost but for project activities.
The financial constraint limits greatly the impact of our service on the community of Trinidad and Tobago affecting the maximization of Our programmes. The Rape Crisis Society; to meet the demands has at present an annual recurrent expenditure of approximately three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00) to cover salaries; rent; utilities, telephones, supplies etc. It is becoming increasingly difficult to meet these expenses from local and project Sources.
The Rape Crisis Society is providing a service to the community of Trinidad and Tobago, one that is used by all persons- The crimes of sexual and physical assault are becoming more visible mainly because of our economic situation- The need of our services is evidenced by the increasing case load of our counselors both North and South, and the numerous calls asking for advice and guidance through the day and night services of the hotline- The work however is being sensually affected by the level of income received.
Training and networking are essential components in our services. Training in recognizing and treating cases of abuse, techniques in crisis intervention and human Sexuality are key areas of focus and we have worked closely with agencies such as the Queen's Park Counseling Centre and Clinic, Medical Social Work Department, The Trinidad & Tobago Police Service and other Non-Governmental Organizations for example, The Child Welfare League of Trinidad and Tobago Inc-, the Women's Resource Centre Trinidad and Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action.
The structure of the Rape Crisis Society is guided by its Constitution which demands a democratic process of election of officers annually. Elections are held at the Annual General Meeting. The elected officers for 1999-2000 were:
President Ms. Pennelope Beckics
Vice President Ms. Roselyn Walcoti
Treasurer Mrs.MoIIy Wheeler
Secretary Mr- Kenwyn Scott
Other Members Mr. Martin Blackefte, Ms. Marcella Alcala, Ms. Enca Rose, Ms. Skirlyn Henry, Ms. Shelleen Stuart
Volunteers play an integral part in the structure, as they interact and implement programmes on behalf of the organization- Volunteers are drawn from the community of Trinidad & Tobago.
The daily activities of the two Centres are presently managed by the Counselor/Administrator two (2) professional part-time councilors two (2) administrative assistants and one (I) office assistant- The staff also consist of a Caravan Co-ordinitor who manages the weekend Caravan Programmes throughout our country of Trinidad & Tobago.
The Society envisions having a Centre which is a "One-stop-shop", which will have family counseling, group therapy, individual counseling and conference training rooms. The Society would also like a medical doctor and an Attorney of Law to be a part of its staff to offer our clients free and professional medical and legal
Thoughts on Programming, Number 26: All programmers are optimists. -The Mythical Man-Month Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.