Tributes paid to founder of Portsmouth rape crisis service

Diana Warren-Holland
Diana Warren-Holland

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TRIBUTES have been paid to the woman who brought a rape crisis centre to Portsmouth.

Diana Warren-Holland founded the Portsmouth Area Rape Crisis Service (Parcs), which is now known as Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service.

She died aged 73 in Jubilee House, Medina Road, Cosham, earlier this month, after being diagnosed with cancer of the kidney, which then spread around her body.

Her daughter Serena Campbell, of Copnor, paid tribute to her.

She said: ‘My mother was strong and set up Parcs in 1981.

‘In 2008 she was given a Civic Award from Portsmouth City Council for her work.’

Parcs was set up for women who had suffered sexual abuse.

Ms Warren-Holland had been a mature student at the University of Portsmouth, and along with other women set about creating Parcs.

In 1994 this service was extended to male victims, and then in 1996 to young people.

Its current director is Kim Hosier who said: ‘Without women like Diana, rape crisis centres would not have emerged across the country in the 1970s and 1980s. Diana saw a problem; the rape and abuse of women and did something about it.

‘She was that rare combination of political and pragmatic.

‘She was determined to change things for women.

‘This made her unpopular with some.

‘She challenged entrenched attitudes, while providing support for women who had been raped and abused.

‘Diana recognised that there was a problem and shouted about it – sometimes very loudly.

‘This was at a time when it was common to hear comments like “she brought it on herself”.

‘Diana will be very much missed by everyone at Parcs.

‘The centre is very much a tribute to all her hard work, dedication and commitment.

‘Everyone at Parcs is determined to carry on her work.’

Her funeral is on April 15, and people are asked to make donations to Parcs in place of flowers.

She is survived by two children, four grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.