A funding boost totalling £1.5 million over three years for Rape Crisis centres will begin across Scotland next month.
Last month Forth Valley Rape Crisis announced the “heart-breaking” closure of the local waiting list for counselling and support. Three survivors are referred to the charity from the Falkirk area every week.
However, the Scottish Government has now announced a top-up of funding to begin from October. Falkirk Council has also pledged funds for the local service for the next two years.
Sandie Barton, of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “We really welcome this vital financial support and commitment to start to address the significant waiting lists which survivors of sexual violence face in some parts of the country. We will continue to work closely together to ensure survivors get access to the support they need and deserve.”
Cabinet Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The Scottish Government has taken many actions to take forward our commitment to preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls.
“We want to encourage everyone to feel able to come forward if they have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, and to be able to access the right support when they need it.”
The Scottish Government has invested £20 million over 2015-2018 through the Violence Against Women and Girls Justice Fund, this included funding for Rape Crisis Scotland to support a national advocacy project, delivered throughout Scotland with advocacy workers based in each Rape Crisis centre.
Some £1.7 million in funding was announced earlier this year to continue the project and enable additional advocacy workers in areas with most need.
When closing the waiting list to new survivors’ cases last month, Wendy Brotchie, assistant manager of the Forth Valley centre, said: “Those who are already on the list will still get the support they need. We have had these concerns for a long time. We really need extra funding but we don’t know how successful we will be. It is a heart-breaking decision for us. We want to help.”