UN joins Rape Crisis campaign

The United Nations has joined the campaign to win statutory funding for Rape Crisis centres across the UK.

The UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has called on the Government to protect women-only services as part of a report on the UK's effort to eliminate discrimination against women.

The move has been backed by politicians, journalists and charity chief executives, who have written an open letter to the Prime Minister demanding an end to the "crisis at Rape Crisis".

Research published in March found that 69 per cent of centres did not believe their funding was sustainable and that nine centres had closed in the last five years.

The research was carried out by the Women's Resource Centre, whose chief executive Vivienne Hayes said the funding problem was largely caused by local and central government misinterpreting gender-neutrality guidelines - meaning grant-givers were unwilling to support organisations that help only women.

"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."

The Government has announced emergency funding of £1m for this year, but has not promised any money for the future.

"How many more centres of vital, specialist, life-saving support is the Government willing to lose?" said Hayes. "The funding crisis facing centres is not difficult to solve, but there needs to be the political will to do so."


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