Rape charity ‘penalised’ as government rejects funding bid

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An Argyll charity supporting people affected by all forms of sexual trauma claims it has been overlooked for a share of a £1.5 million grant from the Scottish Government.

Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis (ABRC) was one of three support organisations rejected for funding among 17 around Scotland which did receive cash.

ABRC spokesperson Elizabeth Thompson believes the charity missed out as a result of the way the government decides on need – using waiting lists.

In larger centres, a survivor would come forward and be placed on a waiting list. The longer the waiting list, the greater the need for funding, according to the Scottish Government.

In the rural and dispersed region of Argyll and Bute, ABRC does not have a waiting list due to its practice of delegating survivors to larger centres if they cannot be reached through staff on Bute, Cowal and Campbeltown and volunteers elsewhere.

ARBC sends unpaid workers to promote awareness throughout Argyll, but are unable to provide a post in Helensburgh or any of the islands.

Elizabeth said: ‘With no money we can’t send anyone to Helensburgh or the islands. No-one raising awareness means no survivors come forward, which means no waiting list and now, no money.

‘We have managed with no additional funding from the Scottish Government and yet because we have managed the situation we are penalised.’

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘Services such as Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis are key in protecting the most vulnerable women and children in our society and it is vital those who have experienced rape or sexual assault have access to the right support.

‘The £1.5 million we announced in October targeted areas with the longest waiting times to ensure women are not having to wait for the services they need.

‘This significant funding for front-line services reflects our commitment to tackling violence against women and we continue to work with Rape Crisis Scotland to look at our long term approach and future funding options so that local rape crisis centres can continue to provide vital services across the country.’