London’s only Rape Crisis Centre faces closure, as Boris ignores funding plight

The Guardian carries a piece outlining the continuing funding struggles of London’s sole remaining Rape Crisis centre.

Yvonne Traynor, chief exec of the branch of Rape Crisis (I can’t quite work out from the story which it is) explains:

The NHS doesn’t offer specialist rape crisis assistance. They offer short-term courses, but women who may have been abused for 10 or 15 years when they were children may find that six weeks of counselling is not enough. Sometimes we work with people for up to a year. Last year we saw 320 women, but also offered emergency couselling and a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week telephone helpline.

We need £250,000 a year just to tick over. The Home Office bailed us out last year with £63,000, and £1m was set aside for similar organisations across the country, but there is no long-term security. We have no stability. We survive only through these ad hoc grants, so we can’t plan ahead. We don’t know if we will still be here in four years’ time. This is a tragedy for women.

We do very quiet work, behind the scenes. I think part of the problem is that we are not loud enough. We are too busy doing work counselling to enter into activism. We don’t have the time to engage with local government.

Later, she adds:

There has been a backlash against the women’s movement. I think local authorities think we are a pain in the neck. We are not taken seriously, and much less so now than a decade ago.

Alexandra at BitchBuzz contacted Yvonne, after reading the piece, and got some further information:

“Boris Johnson did promise us sustainable funding for the next four years (pre his election) but since a meeting with the mayor’s office in October last year, we have not heard anything!”

It’s a dire situation.