Fund­ing snub for rape cri­sis work in Ar­gyll

The Oban Times - - NEWS - By Kathie Grif­fiths kgrif­[email protected]­

Rape sur­vivors in Ar­gyll and on the is­lands have missed out on gov­ern­ment aid to get sup­port more quickly.

Cri­sis cen­tres in Ar­gyll and Bute and the Western Isles have not been awarded a share of £1.5 mil­lion fund­ing from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment.

The snub has an­gered work­ers who say their cen­tres have been ‘un­fairly treated’ be­cause the fund-giv­ing ra­tio­nale was solely based on wait­ing lists.

‘If we don’t al­ready have fund­ing to put work­ers on the is­lands, sur­vivors won’t come for­ward so there’s no wait­ing list,’ said Ar­gyll and Bute Rape Cri­sis man­ager El­iz­a­beth Thomp­son.

Min­is­ter for Older Peo­ple and Equal­i­ties Christina McK­elvie an­nounced the fund­ing in Oc­to­ber but Ar­gyll and Bute Rape Cri­sis was one of just three cen­tres across the coun­try to be missed out, with the oth­ers be­ing the Western Isles and Orkney.

Ms Thom­son warned that fund­ing raised by the Ar­gyll and Bute cen­tre, which has an of­fice in Oban sup­port­ing male and fe­male sur­vivors in is­land com­mu­ni­ties, was now com­ing to an end.

She is wor­ried that other fund­ing sources might be put off from giv­ing them money be­cause they will be un­der the per­cep­tion that the cen­tre now has gov­ern­ment fund­ing when it could not be fur­ther from the truth, said Ms Thomp­son.

Ar­gyll and Bute Rape Cri­sis had an in­crease in clients of 20 per cent in the past year and, ac­cord­ing to Po­lice Scot­land, sex­ual crimes in the area have in­creased by 38 per cent year on year.

‘Oban has a cou­ple of work­ers but there’s no one on Mull, Tiree or Is­lay. The Oban of­fice does its best but most of its sup­port is on Skype or on the phone. If you don’t have money to put work­ers in those com­mu­ni­ties, you just don’t have a wait­ing list so that’s why we feel so an­gry.

‘This is very wrong. The Oban girls work over their hours to see sur­vivors. We still des­per­ately need fund­ing to get work­ers on to the is­lands,’ said Ms Thomp­son.

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

‘Wait­ing lists were not a fair in­di­ca­tor for many rea­sons – ru­ral Rape Cri­sis cen­tres have dif­fer­ent chal­lenges. A lot of our work goes on devel­op­ment to en­able sur­vivors to a come for­ward by chal­leng­ing ru­ral at­ti­tudes and by pro­vid­ing lo­cal sup­port – hence more premises costs and staff travel.

‘Ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties have many ob­sta­cles to sur­mount be­fore they come for­ward. Every­one knows every­one so there is a lack of anonymity, the per­pe­tra­tor can be well­known and liked or re­lated to some­one in the vil­lage; they can be­come the fo­cus of lo­cal gos­sip; at­ti­tudes may be out­dated. These can all con­trib­ute to feel­ings of low con­fi­dence, self-es­teem and anx­i­ety, and devel­op­ment is crit­i­cal to over­come this but that takes time and re­sources,’ she added.

The record­ing of sex­ual crime is at the high­est level seen since 1971.

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