Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Women in Need

Last Monday 8th March was International Women’s Day and to mark the occasion the London Mayor Boris Johnson made a bold announcement on one of his manifesto promises – to provide four new Rape Crisis Centres in our capital, one of which is to be located here in Redbridge. Or did he? Nice timing, but somewhat short on cash?

The promise was to fully fund these centres for three years with the funding being transferred from the Mayor’s Public Relations budget. Trouble is that has been slashed in half.

London Assembly Member, Jenny Jones commented: “It is great news that the Mayor appears to be finally delivering on his promise for the much-needed new rape crisis centres, particularly given the dramatic increase in reported rapes in London. He has announced where the centres will be, although he has not said if these boroughs will be contributing the additional £832,000 funding that the Mayor hasn't provided to ensure the centres are fully funded for three years.”

Matty Mitford, Spokesperson for the Boris Keep Your Promise campaign said. "I'm sure we join all other campaigns for Women in welcoming the new centres, it is a leap forward for vulnerable women in London. Our worry is that, since Boris cut his original funding pledge by £1.6 million, or over half, there is now no clear mention of who will pay for the centre's running costs. The Mayor's funding only lasts for two years, after which who will fund these new centres? With all councils facing huge cuts over the next few years, we could easily find ourselves in the position of having Rape Crisis Centres with no money to run them, all because Boris wouldn't award the money he promised in his manifesto."

David Babbs, Director of Campaigning Organisation 38 Degrees says, "We are glad to show that people-powered campaigning can really work. We will be keeping a close eye on Mayor Johnson to see his original promises are kept. It's the money that matters, not the press release."

According to the Wanstead & Woodford Guardian the new centre in Redbridge has £370k allocated but according to the above that is less than half of what is required.

The leader of Redbridge Council, Keith Prince, may be: "….proud to be leading a partnership of the GLA and Neighbouring East London Councils in the provision of a new Crisis Centre that will support the victims of rape and sexual abuse." But has he looked at the small print or checked his wallet?

The council tax payers of Redbridge are entitled to know if they will be picking up the tab for the Mayor's decision not to increase the GLA precept.

Here's the Official Redbridge News release.

Note: There is currently one Rape Crisis Centre for the whole of London. The GLA was formed in the year 2000. Boris was elected in 2008.



  2. "At Least"
    And we don't want any budget bun fights over it do we?

  3. Cllr Vanessa Cole6:49 pm, March 15, 2010

    Cllr Prince and I were there at the launch last Monday, together with the Chief Community Safety Officer, Kathy Nixon, who will be heading up the Rape Crisis Centre in Redbridge.

    Whilst others may decry this lets say there is never enough money to do everything but the £370,000 is for two years - and Redbridge will be the lead Borough with the whole area of Havering, Waltham Forest, Barking & Dagenham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney included. Rape is a terrible crime and a very un-reported one, sometimes it takes years for the victim to come forward. It should be noted that the nearest Rape Crisis Centre at the moment for rape victims in Redbridge is - Croyden!

    You led a brilliant campaign in regards to the difficulties of residents getting to Queens Hospital in Romford (often a nightmare), just think of what it must take to get to Croyden. We are going to be providing help and counselling on people's doorsteps, isn't that worthwhile?

    I want victims of rape/ or domestic abuse to come forward, to get the assistance they want, for it to be local service and for it to give them hope at the end of it - we have to give victims the courage and means of reporting this vile crime and in so doing give courage to others to follow them.

  4. "...isn't that worthwhile?"

    Of course, we should not let best get in the way of better, and this is a big improvement. But neither should we forget what best is and what is needed to achieve it.