A fund set up by British celebrities in response to the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment has awarded over £1m to UK organisations helping women who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse.
The Justice and Equality Fund, which is managed by Rosa and supported by TIme’s Up UK, has awarded over £1m in grants through the advice and support programme to seven women’s organisations in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, who are working to provide advice and support to women who have experienced sexual harassment.
Grants include £194,168 to Rights of Women who will resource a free and confidential helpline led by women lawyers offering specialist legal advice to women experiencing sexual harassment, and £88,484 to Welsh Women’s Aid to provide training that will increase the knowledge and skill of women’s support services across Wales.
In a statement, Rosa said that the Justice and Equality Fund has been made possible by funding from Comic Relief, who recently contributed £1m, and a crowdfunder on GoFundMe which saw donations from many including Emma Watson who donated £1m to get the fund off the ground, Keira Knightley, Gemma Chan and Tom Hiddleston.
Emma Watson, who was an initial donor to the Justice and Equality Fund and Time’s Up UK catalyst, said: “This first round of Justice and Equality Fund grants is pivotal in supporting the dynamic work of vital UK women’s organisations like London Black Women’s Project, who provide specialist advice and support to women of colour and migrant survivors of abuse.
“Following funding cuts, Northern Ireland has been without a rape crisis service for the last 12 years. That’s an incredibly dire situation, now alleviated by the tireless efforts of organisers and your donations to the JEF crowdfunder. A huge thank you to each and every member of the public, and colleagues from my own industry, who have already donated.
“Time’s Up UK will continue to work in unity with women’s rights and equality movements to campaign for systemic change. This year is just the beginning.”
Samantha Rennie, executive director at Rosa, said: “For far too long, women facing sexual harassment and abuse have faced a postcode lottery. Specialist support services are patchy and stretched, leaving many women with nowhere to turn for help.
“These grants will help ensure that no-one is left unsupported when they have been harassed. We’re delighted that so many individuals and Time's Up have reached out in solidarity to make this happen. But we need to do more – to get these services on a stable footing, and tackle the culture that means abusers can act with impunity.”