Funding provides lifeline for rape crisis centres

Nineteen rape crisis centres across England and Wales will each receive a share of £705,000 emergency funding, the Government has announced.

The money is part of a £1m fund announced in March by Harriet Harman, minister for women and equality, to tackle a funding shortfall across rape crisis centres.

Croydon Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre will receive the biggest single award: £74,360.

The fund was set up in response to a study of UK rape crisis centres earlier this year. The initial funding was released to save a number of centres from immediate closure (Third Sector Online, 20 March).

Nicole Westmarland, chair of Rape Crisis England and Wales, said 2008 had been the first year in the past two decades that no centre had been forced to close, but that they still needed help.

"It is our hope that this is a turning point, but for this to be the case we need urgent discussions to take place about what will happen from March 2009," she said.

The survey, carried out by Rape Crisis and the Women's Resource Centre, revealed that 50 per cent of the UK's rape crisis centres had closed in the past two decades because of a lack of funding, partly caused by the reluctance of grant-givers to fund single-sex projects.

In response to the survey results, Rape Crisis asked the Government to provide a ring-fenced £5m a year to support rape victims.

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