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New Rape Crisis Centres Announced

Rape Crisis (England and Wales) welcomes the Government’s announcement to fund the development and establishment of a further four  new Rape Crisis Centres in Leeds , Northumberland, Southend, Suffolk  and a Rape Support Service in mid Wales over the next three years.  This is an important day for survivors of rape and sexual assault in those areas where, until now, there has been no specialist sexual violence services.

Justice Minister, Crispin Blunt said: "Rape and sexual violence are traumatising crimes which ruin lives. We want to ensure victims of these terrible crimes get the specialist support they need to recover which is why the Government is funding new centres. This is part of the Government's long-term commitment to victims of rape and sexual violence".

Rape Crisis stated 'It is vital that women and girls who experience sexual violence are able to access services when and where they need them. For many women and girls in that support just hasn’t been available or at best, they’ve had to travel long distances in order to get the help they need. It is unthinkable that, until now, there has been no specialist provision for women and girls living in Leeds, the second largest district in England.'

The cash boost will allow SARSVL (Leeds) to employ staff and to secure a permanent base - they currently run their vital helpline from a borrowed room.  Katie Russell from Support After Rape & Sexual Violence Leeds said: “We are extremely pleased to have been awarded this grant from the Ministry of Justice.  This three-year funding will have a hugely positive impact on SARSVL’s development and the lives of women and girls in Leeds. We will be able to carry out our ambitious plans to increase our services. 

The grant will also support our continuing efforts to raise awareness and understanding of sexual violence. The recent launch of Mumsnet's  new We Believe You campaign and research findings yesterday reinforced what we in the Rape Crisis movement have known for some time - that rape and sexual violence are far more prevalent than many realise and that the majority of women (83%) are still reluctant to report to the police - this is a poignant reminder of the continuing need for services like SARSVL's.” For more information or to request an interview with the Leeds centre contact: info.sarsvl@googlemail.com.

Kate Harriss, manager of Rape Crisis Southend, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this funding from the Ministry of Justice. This money means that we can develop and increase the support that we can offer to survivors of sexual abuse in our community and also start to offer therapeutic support for young people and children affected by sexual violence.”

Sue Griffiths, Chair of the Trustees for Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre stated:

"TRCC is delighted that the Ministry of Justice has chosen to support the Northumberland Sexual Violence project, GRACE. The three-year funding commitment is acknowledgement of the excellent and innovative work that has been piloted in Northumberland. It will help ensure women from one of the UK's largest rural areas can access a service that meets their particular needs and which for too long has been absent from this county. GRACE will now be able to reach even more women who have experienced sexual violence at any time in their lives through the provision of a locally based service in different areas of Northumberland." For more information contact: srogerson@tynesidercc.org.uk

Cath Elliott, volunteer co-ordinator for Suffolk Rape Crisis said:

“The funding from the Ministry of Justice is going to be an enormous help. Instead of having to worry about how we're going to fund the service, we will now be able to focus on providing much needed support to the girls and women across Suffolk who are survivors of rape and sexual violence. We have big plans for our future and we are now much closer to being able to achieve some of these ambitious aims.”

Rape Crisis believes that in 2012, every woman and girl should be able to live their life free from the fear of sexual violence. Sadly that is not the case. While there is still a long way to go before there are specialist Rape Crisis services in every local authority area, this is a momentous day in the history of the Rape Crisis movement and we commend the Minister for standing by the coalition government’s commitment to expand and sustain Rape Crisis service provision.

For further information call the Ministry of Justice press office on 0203 334 3536.