Rape crisis centres face closure

// 8 July 2007

As many as half of the Rape Crisis centres in England and Wales may have to close because of lack of funds, reports The Guardian.

Nicole Westmarland, the chairwoman of Rape Crisis in England and Wales said the organisation “really is at crisis point now”. Only 32 centres remain compared with 84 in 1985, and there are just two small, local groups to serve the whole of London.

Yep, that’s right, there are less than half the number of centres than there were in 1985. The government’s response is unsatisfactory, to say the least:

The government rejected the criticism. A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “The Victims Fund was not established to substitute for local long-term core funding. The intention behind the grant scheme is to provide small injections of funding for a whole range of initiatives and projects that support victims and witnesses. We have been extremely clear that funding was only for one year and successful organisations accepted the grant on those conditions.”

They seem to be missing the point: organisations providing vital services to rape victims should not be dependent on temporary, one-year handouts. If the government isn’t going to provide these services directly, then it should, at least, provide decent funding streams.

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