Maggie Parks – Individual Award Nominee – 2003

Nine years ago, Maggie and a small group of women founded WRSAC as a response to the lack of services in Cornwall for women who suffering sexual abuse or domestic violence. They started with limited resources (a filing cabinet and a telephone) and a great deal of determination. Today the organisation employs 13 women and has 38 well trained volunteers. Every year Maggie has personally led the recruitment and training of new volunteers, and this in-depth, life-changing, 13 week course, has been undertaken, for free, by over 150 volunteers since WRSAC started. Since 1994, Maggie has fought for the continued existence of the services offered by WRSAC and has worked to raise over £750,000 for various projects. WRSAC has raised the profile of issues around sexual abuse and domestic violence, and made the case for women-only outreach services in a rural area of relative poverty. Maggie has played a central role in building partnerships with key statutory agencies. A great example is the successful bid to the Home Office in partnership with two local councils, police and probation. The work in question, which now receives core funding, led to increased reporting of incidents, reductions in withdrawn statements, better use of civil actions and a reduction in repeat offending. Maggie never rests, and she is currently involved in piloting another project, a 24hr/7day response to women in Cornwall reporting sexual assault to the police. She is an inspiration to the women she has trained, worked with and supports.