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Ministry of Justice funding for new Rape Crisis Centres

Rape Crisis (England and Wales) warmly welcomes today’s announcement from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) that it intends to fund two new Rape Crisis Centres.

These two groups, awarded a total of over £700,00 over the next three years, will provide specialist sexual violence support to women and girls whose lives have been affected by sexual violence of any kind at any time. One will be based in Lincoln and cover Lincolnshire:

"We are delighted to have received funding from the Ministry of Justice and welcome this opportunity to set up the first Rape Crisis Centre in Lincolnshire. The funding will allow us to provide invaluable services to support women and girls in Lincolnshire who have experienced rape and sexual violence whether recently or in the past. The Centre will provide a helpline and face-to-face support to women and girls across Lincolnshire so that no matter where a woman lives she will be able to get the help she needs.” - Alison McGowan: lincolnshirerapecrisis@hotmail.co.uk

The other will be based in Taunton and cover the four local authority areas of Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset (BANES):

“We’re delighted that the Ministry of Justice is able to fund ‘The Sulis Project’ which will provide essential services for women who have experienced rape or sexual violence at any point in their life in Somerset, North Somerset, BANES and South Gloucestershire. The three year funding commitment acknowledges the importance of ensuring services for all survivors and means that women will have access to locally based holistic services that meet their particular needs which, for too long, have been absent in these areas.” - Dawn Taylor: dawntaylor@bristolrapecrisis.org.uk

Ms Lee Eggleston, Chair of Rape Crisis (England and Wales) said:

“Sexual violence has devastating consequences that can last for years and even decades. It is vital that women and girls affected have access to the specialised, independent, confidential support that Rape Crisis Centres provide, so that they can rebuild and move forward positively with their lives. Up until now, such support has not been available in these areas or, at best, women and girls have had to travel into the next county or metropolitan area, with some journeys taking hours, to receive the services they want and need. In 2013, access to Rape Crisis support should be a right, not a privilege. This is a significant day both for survivors in Lincolnshire and Somerset and for the Rape Crisis movement as a whole.”

The new services that will be set up with this funding include confidential telephone helplines and one-to-one face-to-face support and they will be tailored to meet the needs of local women and girls.

Today’s announcement of £4 million from the MoJ marks the next step towards the Coalition Government’s commitment to fund 15 new rape support centres and provide funds for existing rape support services.

Lee added:

“In recent years, the MoJ has provided chronically under-resourced Rape Crisis Centres with dedicated funding to support their core work for the first time in our movement’s 40-year history of providing specialist services to women and girls. Their commitment to our new Centres has also helped us fill some of the gaps in services that previously existed and so reduce the impact of the ‘postcode lottery’ for sexual violence survivors.

However, existing Rape Crisis Centres face an increasingly uncertain and challenging future as we move rapidly towards a new local commissioning landscape. Lack of clarity around the agendas of the new Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to be introduced from April this year, leave many of our members concerned about their ability to secure local funding to continue providing their vital services.

RCEW’s vision is of world where every woman and girl is free from the fear and experience of sexual violence. Until that day, our work remains essential.”

Government statistics released last month revealed that 85,000 women are raped and over 400,000 are sexually assaulted across England and Wales each year. RCEW encourages any woman or girl whose life has been affected by sexual violence of any kind at any time to visit its website for details of her nearest Rape Crisis services, including advocacy.

To find out more about how you can support the work of the Rape Crisis please go to: www.rapecrisis.org.uk/donations1.php