Boris backtracks on rape crisis funding

// 17 December 2008

The one bright-spot in Boris Johnson’s election as London Mayor was that he promised to fund four new rape crisis centres.

He’s already cancelled the Capital Woman conference for International Women’s Day.

He cut funding for Soho Pride.

Purged his team of women.

Now, according to a press release from Green London Assembly Member Jenny Jones, he has scaled back his promise on rape crisis centres:

Jenny Jones, Green Party Assembly Member, today forced London’s Mayor

to admit that he will not deliver new rape crisis centres in London on

the scale he promised in his manifesto.

Before being elected, the Mayor pledged to provide £744,000 a year to

fund the one existing rape crisis centre in London, along with three

more new centres. However, under questioning by Jenny at the London

Assembly budget committee, the Mayor stated that he would only provide

£233,000 a year.

“Increased support for the victims of rape was an important part of

Boris Johnson’s pledge to Londoners to tackle crime if they elected

him. Now he is in office, he has cut his proposal by more than

£500,000. He may say that he can lever in funds from elsewhere, but

unless long-term funding is assured, rape victims will continue to

suffer from inadequate support.”

Image from Annie Mole, shared under a Creative Commons license, is a geeky Twitter joke

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 17 December 2008 at 10:46 pm

I wonder how Boris will justify his decision to allocate just a miserly £233,000 a year for the provision of a few Rape Crisis Centres. Will Boris say ‘ the economy has suffered a downturn and we must spend the public’s money wisely and not waste it on providing help and support to women who have been raped by males.’ Or will it be, ‘well we over estimated the amount of funding required to provide a couple of rape crisis centres because we discovered men are not raping women in such numbers and of course there are innumerable false claims of rape made by women.’ Or will it be ‘it is your fault not mine I only said I would fund rape crisis centres when I was using every political trick to ensure I would be elected. Now that I’ve been elected women’s issues aren’t my major or minor concern because I have to focus on more pressing male needs.’

Whatever Boris says he will claim he is not responsible because it will inevitably be Ken Livingstone’s fault or the economy or simply he cannot do everything in just one term of office. Boris is a politician through and through – and of course we should never, ever trust politicians. But Boris’s reneging on his political promise does affect the numerous women and girls who have suffered male violence and are seeking expert, confidential help which is not time limited or because the male violence inflicted on them occurred more than 12 months ago then the women/girls cannot seek help at any of the four Sexual Assault Referral Centres in London.

I am certain women’s groups will not remain silent and passively accept this latest piece of misogynistic dismissal of women’s suffering caused by endemic male violence against women.

Spicy // Posted 22 December 2008 at 9:58 am

And stretch our credulity still further, The Guardian reports the following:

Tories pledge 15 new rape crisis centres

A future Tory government would open 15 rape crisis centres at a cost of £2.6m as part of measures to tackle violence against women, Theresa May, the shadow women’s minister, is to announce today. Under the plans, teaching about consent would be made compulsory in the sex education curriculum and all police recruits would face more rigorous training in domestic violence. Schools would also be encouraged to issue guidance to teachers on violence against women. “Rape is particularly vicious violence. We are committed to providing the support that rape victims need,” May will say.

Spicy // Posted 10 January 2009 at 7:06 am

A Christmas message for Boris:

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds