Established in 1976, Rape Crisis is the most experienced organisation in South Africa working in the area of adult rape and sexual violence. Our roots are as a volunteer run feminist women’s collective, but we were compelled by the changing fundraising climate of the early 1990s to develop into a professionally staffed organisation. We obtained NPO registration in 1997 and maintained our focus on the empowerment of women. We have a national reputation for unique and innovative best practices models and our work consists of a range of projects that include direct services to survivors of rape and sexual violence, popular education and advocacy as essential components of a well-developed theory of change.
Our relationship with government, particularly at the provincial level, is collaborative (we share spaces at courts and health facilities with government service providers) but also challenging because we observe that government does not always serve the best interests of rape survivors. Our close connection with the communities we serve gives us capacity for social mobilisation and our strong network of partners in civil society gives us support for lobbying influential role players at both the national and provincial levels of government.
With the support of the communities we serve, our partners, and by utilising well researched information, we develop strategies to address flaws in the criminal justice system in order to ensure better support for complainants. Our offices in Khayelitsha, Athlone and Observatory reflect the diverse demographics of the clients and communities we serve.