Funding crisis for Rape Crisis centres

Rape Crisis centres are suffering "spectacular" under-funding because the public sector will not give grants to single-sex organisations, according to research by Rape Crisis and the Women's Resource Centre.

The organisations surveyed 35 of the 38 Rape Crisis centres across the UK and found that 69 per cent believed current financing conditions were unsustainable. The research also found that 23 per cent of centres had secured no funding whatsoever for the coming financial year.

The number of Rape Crisis centres has already fallen by more than 50 per cent over the past two decades.

Vivienne Hayes, director of the Women’s Resource Centre, said much of the funding problem was caused by local and central government misinterpreting gender-neutrality guidelines – meaning grant-givers were unwilling to support a body that helps women only.

“Generic services are being favoured over women-only ones,” she said. “It’s not just Rape Crisis centres that are suffering, though it’s been hit worse than most. It’s a necessary service that isn’t being provided by anyone else. That money is needed.”

Hayes said that Rape Crisis centres should not start to provide a service for male rape victims to fit in with funding criteria.

“We’re a women’s group and we’re concerned about women,” she said. “The vast majority of rapes are perpetrated by men against women.”

The organisation has asked that the Government provide a ring-fenced £5m a year fund to provide support services for rape victims.

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