CHARITIES dedicated to helping abuse survivors and victims of rape are to be given funding from the Scottish Government on a three-year basis in future.
Equalities Secretary Angela Constance announced the move, which she said would provide “greater clarity and reassurance” for organisations working in the area.
From July 2017, funding awards from the Scottish Government’s equalities budget will be made on a three-year basis, instead of cash being provided for 12 months only.
Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland both welcomed the move, saying it would allow them to spend more time helping women “rather than filling out yearly application forms”.
The change in approach was announced by Ms Constance as she met staff and volunteers at Women’s Aid in Stirling.
More than £20 million of funding will be handed out to projects and initiatives from the Government’s equalities budget for 2016-17, with £11.8 million being invested in frontline services helping women and children who have experienced domestic abuse.
Ms Constance said: “We are committed to tackling all forms of violence against women and girls, and to supporting the organisations that provide this vital support.
“I’m delighted to announce we will be moving to a three-year funding programme, in particular for projects supporting women and girls affected by violence.
“This will provide greater clarity and reassurance for this sector, allowing them to plan for the longer-term.”
She continued: “These organisations do a huge amount of work in supporting those affected by violence against women and girls, and we want to enable them to plan and function as well as possible.
“Enabling and empowering women to leave violent situations requires long-term work and planning, and so we know longer-term reassurance, and preventative action, is important to this sector in particular.”
Marsha Scott, chair of Scottish Women’s Aid, said: “It is hard to overstate how important a more stable and efficient funding environment is to our Women’s Aid groups, our women’s sector partners who do such important work to address the causes of domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women and girls, and to ourselves.
“Three-year contracts allow us all to spend more time on service provision and investment in early intervention.
“Most important, perhaps, the Government’s announcement sends the signal to other funders and to women and children experiencing domestic abuse that Women’s Aid services are stable and sustainable, and Scotland’s eyes are on the prize of ending domestic abuse.”
Rape Crisis Scotland national co-ordinator Sandy Brindley said: “Equality organisations throughout Scotland play a vital role in protecting and promoting the human rights of different groups of people within Scottish society. Security of funding is crucial for organisations such as rape crisis centres.
“We are delighted to hear that a three-year funding package is going to be made available. This will give organisations such as ours some security moving forward.
“Crucially, it means that we can dedicate more resources to our work supporting survivors of sexual violence, rather than filling out yearly application forms.”