A new counselling service previously aimed at supporting military veteran women who experienced sexual trauma has received a funding boost to expand its activities to women in the Merchant Navy and fishing sectors.
The service is run by relatively new charity Salute Her UK, and can be accessed by women in the UK or internationally. It promises counselling which is woman-focused and sensitive to different religions and cultures. The Seafarers' Charity will provide funding over a two-year period to deliver women-centric therapy and trauma counselling to women at sea.
The expanded services will include a range of activities such as workshops, courses, group and individual counselling, and mental health therapy delivered either face-to-face or virtually.
The funding from The Seafarers' Charity for the expanded service is in response to evidence revealed in a recent research report by Professor Helen Sampson and Dr Iris Acejo at Cardiff University's Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC): The Port-Based Welfare Needs of Women Seafarers. The SIRC research, also funded by The Seafarers' Charity, revealed female seafarers' experience of isolation and fear of sexual assault within the male-dominated work environment of a cargo ship, and made some recommendations for improving support for women crew by port welfare services.
Chief executive at The Seafarers' Charity and chair of Maritime UK's Women In Maritime Network Deborah Layde said: 'Our funding of this new trauma counselling service for seafarers offered by Salute Her is a substantial investment over a two-year period in a new gender-specific welfare service which I believe will help support the recovery of women seafarers who have been affected by sexual violence in their place of work. However, our funding of this service is just one part of a bigger picture as we all need to urgently consider what more can be done to protect the safety of women who choose a career at sea.'
More information about this Salute Her UK's service to support women impacted by sexual violence at sea can be accessed here.