Chair of rape charity admits theft

The former chair of a rape crisis centre has admitted stealing about £1,000 from the charity.

Alison Wilson, who first began working at the York Rape Crisis Centre as a volunteer, stole the money in cheques for amounts ranging from £120 to £250. The offences took place between September and October last year, soon after she had become the charity’s chair.

York magistrates heard that some of the stolen money had not been accounted for, partly because the charity, which had an income of just over £5,000 in 2003/04, had closed earlier this year for unrelated reasons. However, a spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said the regulator was unaware of the closure.

Wilson’s solicitor told the court that she had faced “distressing circumstances”. The 39-year-old will be sentenced later this month.

A year ago the Women’s Resource Centre warned that up to 18,000 women’s groups, including many rape crisis centres, could close by 2009 because of financial problems.

A spokeswoman confirmed that the umbrella body’s prognosis had not changed.

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