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Advocacy Counselling Helpline

SARSVL – Why ‘Women Only’

From time to time we are asked why our service is women only - that means delivered by women for women and girls.

Why is SARSVL women only?

SARSVL is proud to be a feminist organisation and member of Rape Crisis England and Wales. We offer services by women, for women and girls. This is because, throughout Rape Crisis England and Wales’ 40+ years’ experience of frontline work, this is what women and girls have told us they want.

The majority of statutory services and spaces are not specialist for women, so it’s important to us that we protect and maintain our safe women-only services and spaces for those who want and need them.

Research conducted by the Women’s Resource Centre found that women who had used women-only services greatly valued this support. An independent poll of 1,000 women across the UK found that 97% of those interviewed thought a female rape victim should have the choice of accessing a women-only support service.

What’s your policy on gender identity?

SARSVL is here to support women and girls – that means people who self-identify as being a woman or a girl. We are a proudly trans inclusive organisation and we recognise that transgender women and girls are female and have the right to self-identify as such in accordance with the Equality Act (2010).

Transgender women are welcome and encouraged to seek support from SARSVL and to deliver our services as volunteers or employees.

As a women only service, SARSVL does not work with transgender men or boys.

Can SARSVL support me if I’m non binary?

Our specialist services are for women and girls – this means that if you identify as a woman or girl, or with a service that has been developed for women and girls and run by women then we are here for you. This includes non-binary people who identify with this approach. You will always be treated with dignity and respect.

SARSVL does not work with people who identify as men or boys.

Find out more information about support in Leeds for non binary people here.

Where can I find support for men and boys?

While we focus on the needs of women and girls, we fully acknowledge men and boys also experience rape and sexual violence and abuse, and that the impacts on their lives can be similarly devastating and long-lasting.

There are also organisations that specialise in supporting male survivors.

Men and boys who contact SARSVL will be treated with empathy and respect and signposted towards his nearest appropriate services.

Call us free on
0808 802 3344

Your call should be answered immediately during our opening times, unless we’re on another call. If we’re closed or on another call you can leave us a message and we’ll call you back.