The decision has forced Glasgow Rape Crisis to close its waiting list for any new survivors hoping to get support
Glasgow Rape Crisis, a support service for women and girls who have been raped, sexually abused or assaulted, have announced that they have had to close their waiting list for any new survivors hoping to get support.
This decision comes after BBC Children in Need have discontinued their grant to the service, which the centre manager alleges was made because BBC Children in Need said that the charity does not do enough to support male survivors. Glasgow Rape Crisis is a women's-only service. BBC Children in Need deny these claims.
The Glasgow Guardian has spoken to the centre manager, Isabelle Kerr, for comment on the harrowing decision she was forced to make.
With regards to the loss of funding that you mentioned in the announcement posted on the centre's Facebook page, is that local authority funding?
"No, it was a grant that we had from BBC's Children in Need, and it funded part of a service for young women between thirteen and eighteen years of age. We had the grant previously, and the committee decided they didn't want to renew it."
Did they give you a reason for that?
"They sent the usual kind of letter they send. We had some verbal feedback where they said they felt we weren't doing enough for male survivors. But we're a women's-only service, it's not a service for male survivors. [BBC Children in need deny that this is a reason for the grant non-renewal]. So unfortunately they decided they wouldn't renew their grant with us."
Do you feel that you get adequate support from the government and local authorities?
"We get these [...] pots of money, some from the Scottish Government. We've got a funding stream from that. We get some money from the local authorities. But this specific funding [from the BBC] was for very specific work, and quite a substantial grant. We were not able to replace a worker. The support those workers were doing has now had to be put out to other workers, already carrying heavy caseloads. This also means women currently on the waiting list are going to have to wait even longer. There are currently 150 women on the waiting list, and some will now have to wait nine months for service."
How can our readers help Glasgow Rape Crisis?
"Volunteers. They exclusively staff the helpline, and we give training for that once a year. We're also always looking for anybody who would like to do fundraising - a half marathon, 10k, anything. Another way to help is people giving us regular donations. Big charities use this quite extensively; just asking someone to give us a couple pounds a month [helps]. We're trying to push that now, to put us more on a sustainable footing.
All centres across Scotland are in this position. Funding is precarious and we're all worried. We are the biggest centre in the country, and here we are struggling to keep a basic service open."
Glasgow Rape Crisis have recently set up a Just Giving fund with hopes to raise enough money to re-open the waiting list. You can donate here. Others ways to help the centre can be found on the "how you can help" section of their website.
Since hearing the news that the centre will have to close its waiting list, many survivors have spoken out against the funding withdrawal. The Glasgow Guardian has spoken to a survivor, who wishes to be anonymous, that used some of the essential services that Glasgow Rape Crisis provides:
"It's a life-changing service. It was the only service available to me when the NHS waiting list was so long and the counselling services at my university wouldn't work with my diagnosis.
I think the BBC Children in Need's decision to withdraw funding was particularly poor, as Rape Crisis choose to focus their resources on the most vulnerable of survivors, like younger women, disabled women and asylum seekers. They also provide access for deaf survivors and survivors who aren't confident with English.
If they keep the waiting list closed, it's these people who are going to suffer the most from it.
Also, their support to report service was literally the only reason I told the police about the last person to assault me. I just hands down wouldn't have done it if I didn't have that support."
A spokesperson for BBC Children in Need said: "We have been pleased to fund Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis since 2012. Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis’ 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.
Although the public are extremely generous in their support each year, we simply don’t have the money to fund all of the projects that apply to us for grants and we have to make some really difficult decisions. We currently fund 313 projects to a value of £18.8 million in Scotland and receive thousands of funding applications every year from projects across the UK helping to change young lives.
In 2012, we awarded the Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis a three-year grant of £101,073 to help fund their Young Women's Support Service. This project helped girls and young women who are survivors of sexual abuse. In one-to-one counselling and group support sessions they were supported in developing coping strategies, improving their mental health, reducing feelings of isolation and growing in confidence. Specifically, our grant funded the salary for a Young Women's Support Worker, plus a sessional Group Worker, among some other project costs. In March 2015, we awarded the project a further grant of £135,222 to continue to help fund these services over the next three years.”