Rape Crisis responds to news of lack of funding for specialist sexual violence services
In response to articles in the Guardian and New Statesman regarding the lack of government funding for specialist sexual violence services despite the huge rise in need and demand from survivors, Rape Crisis national spokeswoman Katie Russell said:
“Our Rape Crisis member organisations in England and Wales are seeing unprecedented levels of demand for their specialist services, both from adults and children who’ve been raped or sexually assaulted recently, and from those who were abused years and even decades ago.
Last year, our network provided ongoing support, counselling and advocacy to over 50,000 individual survivors, and answered more than 165,000 helpline calls, an average of 3,000 a week.
In many ways, this is of course a positive trend, indicating that more sexual violence survivors than ever before are seeking the specialist services they want and deserve, including huge numbers of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, many of whom have never told anyone about their experiences before.
On the other hand, it is of deep concern that neither Rape Crisis England & Wales nor any of our local member Rape Crisis centres has any central government funding confirmed beyond March 2016, even to sustain our vital work at current levels, let alone to develop and grow to meet the undeniable need among survivors.
The Conservative manifesto promised a sustainable funding model for our Rape Crisis movement and we look forward to learning what this will look like. We also anxiously await news of whether the Rape Support Fund, which has been a vital source of core funding for our members in recent years but comes to an end in March, will be reopened for applications in time for the new financial year.”
“It’s important to remember that the vast majority of sexual violence survivors do not report to the police, yet many still choose to access the specialist, confidential and independent services that Rape Crisis has been offering for over 40 years.
If all sexual violence survivors are to receive the social justice they deserve, regardless of whether or not they pursue criminal justice, it’s essential that government respects their choices by ensuring the survival of these independent support providers, and not only investing in statutory services that are used by a minority.”