Our Story

We have grown from our early roots as a rape crisis centre into an award-winning charity offering a wide range of support for women and girls.

We are proud of our 27 years of ‘herstory’ since the organisation began in 1996. During this time we have grown, evolved and kept women and girls at the heart of everything we do.


Grassroots origins

  • In 1994, a small group of local women come together because they were concerned at the lack of specialist, women-centred services for survivors of child sexual abuse and rape in Cornwall.
  • By 1996, these wonderful women establish the Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (Cornwall) as a registered charity and start running a Helpline and outreach service.



Pioneering leaders of change in Cornwall and beyond

  • In 1999 we place Domestic Violence Support Workers in Police Domestic Violence Units, which then grows into the Cornwall Independent Domestic Violence Service, employing some of the first ISVAs in the country.
  • We establish Peer Support and Lived Experience groups which later blossom into new organisations such as Waves domestic abuse support group in Newquay (now Waves Counselling Project) and a survivor’s forum, SEEDS.
  • Our young women’s group host the first of many Reclaim The Night events in 2004 in Cornwall.




A diverse and vibrant Women’s Centre

  • The organisation grows into what is now The Women’s Centre Cornwall after we change our name in 2018.
  • DIVAs train professionals including the police and other rape crisis centres and members share their knowledge and expertise through joining the Cornwall Learning Disability and Autism Partnership Boards and being invited to take part in research and consultations across the country.
  • International Women’s Group engages with Romanian, Bulgarian, Portuguese and Ukrainian women and delivers a dynamic array of activities including women’s health day with a local GP surgery, per-ESOP English classes and trauma-informed yoga.


Awards & Accreditations

2022-23 - Cornwall Council Charity of the Year

2021 - One Small Thing Silver Trauma Quality Mark

2021 - Howard League Community Award – Women’s Category – The Open Mentoring Service

2012 - Kings Fund IMPACT Award

2010 - CAADA (Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse) ‘Leading Light’ & Centre of Excellence

2010 - Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

2007 - National Rape Crisis Member Centre

2005 - Criminal Justice Board’s Award for ‘Outstanding Services to Victims and Witnesses’

2005 - Government’s Gold Star Award for Good Practice

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