Within the last few days, Rape Crisis England & Wales (RCEW) has been made aware of allegations of racism at one of our member organisations.
At RCEW, we are wholeheartedly committed to modelling and embodying the values of intersectional feminism, anti-racism and anti-oppression that underpin our work with victims and survivors of all forms of sexual violence and abuse. We acknowledge that institutional racism exists in our movement and in the violence against women and girls (VAWG) sector as a whole, as it does in wider society, and we are working actively to identify, challenge and eliminate racism, bullying and systemic and structural inequalities on an ongoing basis.
We take allegations of behaviours and cultures at our member Rape Crisis Centres that undermine these values very seriously. While each of our member Centres is an autonomous organisation in its own right, they have all been assessed against and pledged to adhere to our specialist Rape Crisis National Service Standards and RCEW values and ethos. It is therefore right and appropriate that we take action, in accordance with agreed processes, when we’re alerted to the potential a member has fallen short of this. We do this in a context of wanting to support members to improve and develop. We have begun these internal processes in the case of the member in question.
Racism causes distress and suffering. We are dedicated to listening to, hearing and believing Black and minoritised women in our Rape Crisis network when they tell us about their experiences, which we recognise takes courage and an emotional toll. We stand in solidarity with them and commit to ensuring they are treated with fairness and respect, and to creating and maintaining environments in which they feel fully included, safe and valued.
As an organisation, we are actively engaged at RCEW in making changes to ensure an anti-racist, anti-oppressive focus throughout our own systems, processes and working culture. We will learn and build from our failures and support our member Centres to do the same.
In partnership with VAWG organisations led by and for Black and minoritised women and girls and other white-majority VAWG organisations, we are committed to putting in the work to tackle and end racism in our VAWG sector.