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Friday, 10 August 2018

Rape counselling service lost funding 'as it did not do enough for men'

Written by Jennifer McKiernan

A woman-focused rape counselling service has lost its funding because it did not do enough for men, according to its manager.

Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis's face-to-face counselling service for 13 to 18-year-old girls who have faced sexual violence has been funded by BBC Children in Need for six years but has just lost funding.

The decision has forced the service to close its doors to new patients and has sparked huge community support, including a petition, and the centre has launched a crowdfunding campaign.

The JustGiving campaign states: "We are really sad to report that we have had to close down the Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis waiting list for all new survivors coming to the project.

"We are so sorry for having to make this decision but recent loss of funding for our work with young women and girls has had a significant impact on our overall service provision with current waiting times of up to nine months for ongoing, face-to-face support.

"Today staff had to tell new survivors who needed structured, face-to-face support that we can no longer offer this until further notice - something staff never thought we would have to do.

"Please help us re-open our waiting list by donating anything you can afford now, and sharing our campaign. We now need your help more than ever. Thank you."

A Children in Need spokeswoman denied the reason for funding being pulled was because the centre did not do enough for men, as centre manager Isabelle Kerr insists she was told - but was unable to give an alternative reason.

The spokeswoman said tough decisions had to be made and the project was unsuccessful because not enough money was available to fund all the projects applying for grants.

She said: "We have been pleased to fund Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis since 2012.

"Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis's three-year grant recently came to the end of its term, and their subsequent application for new funding was unsuccessful.

"This decision was in no way connected to the support of male victims, we award grants to charities regardless of gender."

The spokeswoman added Children in Need funds 313 projects to a value of £18.8 million in Scotland and receives thousands of funding applications every year from projects across the UK.

Ms Kerr said the official statement given to the press did not tally with the feedback she was given from those making the decision.

She said: "I have seen BBC comment but I can only repeat the verbal feedback I got.

"That was the committee didn't feel that we were doing enough for male survivors.

"We have built up a service that is trauma-focused and survivor-centred and it really works for women. That's why we are so busy. "

The instant outpouring of public support for the project was "amazing" said Ms Kerr, and she hoped the centre staff would be able to raise enough money to continue with their work.

"The support we have had since yesterday on JustGiving has been amazing - everyone here is really boosted by the messages of support from folk on social media and all the donations and offers of help.

"The staff here are the best, most skilled and most committed team I have ever worked with.

"They give 100% every day, and this service couldn't exist without them. "

Children in Need was unable to give information about whether any other services supporting survivors of sexual violence had seen funding cuts.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire.