Thursday, July 16, 2009

Protest Boris Johnson’s Funding cuts to Rape Crisis Centres - 20 July, GLA

Why Protest?

The rape conviction rate in the UK is only 5.3% - one of the lowest in Europe.

93% of rape victims do not tell the police.

Every 34 minutes a rape is reported to the police in the United Kingdom. Thousands more women do not come forward.

Every woman and girl who has suffered violence has the right to specialised support to rebuild their lives.

Yet over one in four local authorities in Britain have no specialised support services for women who have experienced violence. London has only one Rape Crisis centre for 3.9 million women. The failure to bring rapists to justice amounts to a near licence to rape.

Women are being failed by the criminal justice system, and left with nowhere to turn for support.

Rape Crisis centres provide a vital service for women who have suffered violence at any time in their lives.

Women who suffer violence are not alone. Sexual violence must be taken seriously. We must act in solidarity to fight for sustainable funding for specialised women’s services.

Why now?

Boris Johnson made an election promise to fund Croydon rape crisis and three new centres for at least 4 years. When he was elected it became clear that he had not budgeted for this promise.

Boris launched a strategy in April 2009 calling ‘for action to end violence against women’. The strategy contains many more promises to women and is open for public consultation until 20th July.

Women need specialised rape services NOW. The ‘postcode lottery’ must end. We need to keep the pressure on to make sure that every woman who has suffered violence has access to support.

What do we want?

* The immediate establishment of a cross-government, ring-fenced Rape Crisis fund of £5m a year
* Greater investment in Rape Crisis by local and regional statutory agencies that refer women to centres
* The number and capacity of centres increased so every woman and girl can access support
* The professionalism of Rape Crisis workers recognised and appropriately remunerated through improved funding to Rape Crisis centres
* The impacts of sexual violence are long-term and far-reaching and funding for services should reflect this
(from Women’s Resource Centre)

*We also support Southall Black Sisters opposition to British National Party Representative -Richard Barnbrook (GLA member for Barking and Dagenham)’s scandalous inclusion on a committee of an evidence session, meant to feed into London mayor Boris Johnson’s violence against women strategy. *

What can I do?

1. Make your voice heard in the consultation before 20th July here:

2. Protest At the GLA on the day the consultation closes
20th July 12:30 – 14.30

For more info

Boris Keep Your Promise

Women’s Resource Centre

Southall Black Sisters’ Statement