Government discriminates against Argyll rape crisis

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By Mark Davey

An Campbeltown independent advocate has hit out at discriminatory Scottish government funding for rape crisis centres.

MAKI support and advocacy worker, Ailsa Wilson, said the government has recently given 14 centres, across Scotland, additional funding of £1.5 million but excluded her own, Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis, as well as Western Isles and Orkney.

As The 16 Days of Action, an international campaign to raise awareness of  violence against women started, last Sunday, Ms Wilson said: ‘The rational was based solely on waiting lists.

‘We do not have a waiting list as: we cannot get funding for a Helensburgh worker and the islands so we provide no service – hence no service no waiting list; we raised money from the Volant Trust to provide a 12-hour worker in Cowal, which finishes in December 2019; Robertson Trust gives 14 hours to Campbeltown, dependent on match funding and recently Bute Family Trust added six hours on Bute for six months.

‘Our workers do unpaid hours to see survivors.

‘Clients have increased 20 per cent in the last year and sexual crimes increased by 13 per cent in Scotland.

‘In Argyll and Bute according to the latest figures from Police Scotland there has been a year-on-year increase of 38 per cent.

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

Ms Wilson added that waiting lists were not a fair indicator for many reasons.

Rural Rape Crisis centres have different challenges – a lot of the work is developmental to enable survivors to a come forward by challenging rural attitudes and by providing support.

This increases premises costs and staff travel.

In addition survivors in rural communities have many obstacles to surmount before they come forward.

Ms Wilson added: ‘Everyone knows everyone so there is a lack of anonymity.

‘The perpetrator can be well known and liked or related to someone in the village, they can become the focus of local gossip and attitudes may be outdated.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.

‘In addition it is now contributing to us being unable to get funding from other funders as there is a perception we now have funding.’

Argyll and Bute Rape Crisis offers support to men,women, lesbian, gay and transgender people from the age of 12 to 60+ in Campbeltown and throughout Argyll and Bute

Anyone can call the helpline on 0800 121 4685 or go to the website at: www.rapecrisiscentre-argyll-bute.org.uk/survivors. php

The 16 Days of Action campaign is supported by the Kintyre Link Club which has put bows and positive messages around the town. NO_c48linkclub01_16_days_action