Responding to the Government announcement today (22 March) of additional funding for rape support centres, the End Violence Against Women Coalition said:
“Today’s announcement of additional funding for life-saving rape crisis centres is welcome, but it is a long way from meeting the huge and increasing need for rape counselling and support in this country.
“It’s good to see that this funding has been set for three years instead of what has happened to date which has led to annual insecurity.
“But, the Ministry of Justice itself admits that demand for these life changing services has gone through the roof, with many rape crisis services reporting the number of people coming to them for support doubling in the last few years. A 10% increase in funding seems a paltry response in the light of this massive change.
“Some rape crisis centres are in the wretched position of having to close their waiting lists when they want to help all the survivors who contact them. This announcement is nowhere near enough to meet the need. And for some, the awards may result in a real term decrease to what they previously received from this fund. Once the government have released the actual figures we will know more about what it will mean on the ground for centres across England and Wales.
“Alarmingly, many rape crisis centres do not promote their services locally, because they do not have the funding to meet the demand they know is out there. The MoJ say there were 150,000 reports of sexual offences to police last year. That means the £8m they are committing to today is at most £53 per survivor. In truth we know that 86% survivors choose not to report to the police but often do seek specialist support so the reality is considerably less.
“When we know how vital these services are, it is reckless of the Government not provide enough funding to ensure every survivor has access to the support they need. What we need is a root and branch change in the way these services are funded so that they are sustainable and no survivor who needs help is ever turned away.”