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UN joins campaign for more UK rape crisis funding

UN joins campaign for more UK rape crisis funding
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UN joins campaign for more UK rape crisis funding

Fundraising | Tania Mason | 17 Sep 2008

The United Nations has called on the government to increase funding to rape crisis centres and put in place a sustainable funding plan to ensure their long-term survival.

The UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has published a report citing “serious failings” in the UK government’s efforts to promote equality for women and do away with discrimination. It recommends the government take urgent action to provide sustainable funding for rape crisis centres around England and Wales.

Open letter to Gordon Brown

Publication of the report coincided with an open letter to the Prime Minister, demanding more support for the services. The 200 signatories included MPs Theresa May and Lynne Featherstone; editor of Cosmopolitan magazine Louise Court; fpa chief executive Julie Bentley; Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti; and the chief executives of NAVCA, NCVO and acevo, Kevin Curley, Stuart Etherington, and Stephen Bubb.

Research carried out earlier this year into the current state of the rape crisis service found that nine centres have closed in the last five years, 69 per cent said their funding was unsustainable, and 79 per cent of grants received in 2006-7 were for one year or less.

The number of rape crisis-affiliated centres in England and Wales has nearly halved from 68 to 38 since 1984.

More closures on the way

Recently the government channelled £1m of ‘emergency' funding into the sector to prevent more closures this year, but the rape crisis movement argued that this does nothing to secure its long-term survival. More closures are expected next year if sustainable funding does not emerge.

Darlene Corry, policy officer at the Women’s Resource Centre, added that the government should follow Scotland’s lead (pictured), where a Violence against Women strategy has been implemented with ring-fenced funding for all forms of violence against women (pictured).

“A template for such a strategy has recently been developed by the End Violence against Women campaign,” she said. “All that’s really needed is the political will to make it happen across the UK.”

Boris still to deliver

A pre-election pledge by London Mayor Boris Johnson to commit £700,000 to three new rape crisis centres in London has yet to come to fruition, his press office admitted.

A spokeswoman said it was "still a priority" and was "being worked on" but nothing concrete could be announced yet.

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