Reinstate Funding for Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis
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Last night, Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis announced that, due to funding cuts, they would be closing their waiting list to all new survivors of sexual violence. The decision of BBC Children in Need to withdraw major funding after six years of support will leave an inestimable number of traumatised women, girls, and non-binary people without the vital lifeline of individual and group counselling. Despite providing specialist services for particularly vulnerable survivors (including young survivors, mentally ill survivors, and survivors seeking asylum), as well as offering counselling for men indirectly affected by sexual violence (e.g. partners of survivors), Children in Need declined to re-fund this year with the reasoning that Rape Crisis do not provide direct support to male survivors. Despite the fact that male survivors of sexual violence can access support from charities like Survivors UK and NAPAC, Rape Crisis service users are effectively being punished for belonging to genders that make us significantly more vulnerable to sexual abuse and rape.
The sheer scale of the problem is evidenced by the fact that the average waiting list time at Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis has skyrocketed to nine months, compared to the previous average of 6-8 weeks. Local cuts to NHS mental health services mean that Rape Crisis is the only support available to many survivors before their well-being significantly deteriorates. Not only will Rape Crisis be unable to provide individual and group support that is so essential to a survivor's quality of life, but cutting their other services like Support to Report will result in even fewer survivors reporting their abuse to the police. Fewer consequences for sex offenders is likely to result in an increase in sexual violence; their victims increasingly dis-empowered and un-supported due to projects like Rape Crisis not receiving adequate funding.
Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis service users do not deserve to be punished for accessing a gender-specific service. For many of us, Rape Crisis counselling has been the lifeline that helps us stop hurting ourselves, that helps us survive the gauntlet of the legal process, that helps us to develop a normal life after trauma. For some of us, the Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis centre is the only place we feel safe. For some of us, having a support worker who knows you personally has made the difference between life and death. Children in Need must consider reinstating their funding on the grounds that Rape Crisis's services are an absolute necessity, and will continue to be so for as long as women and non-binary people are subjected to sexual violence.
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