Fern was raped while travelling abroad. She returned to the UK and sought help from her nearest Rape Crisis Centre. Due to the huge levels of demand they were facing and government failures to fund vital services, Fern was turned away and unable to access support. She as lucky enough to get private therapy through work. But she knows there are thousands of survivors who aren’t so lucky. She is calling on the government to support Rape Crisis specialist services.
At EVAW we estimate that the government needs to provide a minimum of £195 million each year to Rape Crisis services to properly respond to need, with a significant proportion ring fenced for specialist BME services. The overall income of the network as it stands is £20 million. Centres constantly face the potential they might have to close as demand far outstrips the minimal funding they receive. Many centres are forced to operate lengthy waiting lists and some have to make the heart-wrenching decision to close their waiting lists altogether.
The EVAW 2018 YouGov survey showed that people consider access to counselling more important than access to police and courts process for survivors of rape. Our survey revealed that 60% of people believe that access to free counselling is readily available for rape survivors. This is not the case. In March 2018 there were 6,355 survivors on Rape Crisis waiting lists. A number expected to have increased this year with the ever growing demand for support services
Fern has written to the Prime Minister demanding she properly funds life saving services and to discuss the current appalling lack of support.
14th May Update from Fern
This week I wrote a piece for Mumsnet in which I discuss my motivation for starting the #NoSurvivorTurnedAway petition.
I also spoke to Cosmopolitan UK recently about the petition and you can read their piece here.
Thank you, everybody, for helping me to raise awareness of how widespread lack of access to rape support services is. This week as Downing Street lit itself green for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and rallied us all to ‘work together’ to look after our mental health, we must continue to hold this government to account for its treatment of victims and survivors of sexual violence and remind them that it is their inaction that has forced Rape Crises centres across the country to close their waiting lists.
It’s great to see that 44 MPs have already pledged their names to the Istanbul Convention Early Day Motion. Please do write to your MP and ask them to do the same if you haven’t already!