LABOUR MSPs are to raise the issue of funding for Rape Crisis Edinburgh in Holyrood this week after it emerged the advice line will lose 50 per cent of its income within months.
National Lottery funding for the sexual abuse and violence service ends after five years in March and the organisation faces losing three-quarters of its much valued team consisting of 12 full-time members and 13 trained volunteers.
The Edinburgh office is the busiest of 13 centres in Scotland and received around £150,000 from the lottery in 2012, along with £50,000 from the Scottish Government.
Rape Crisis Scotland said the network had received a record number of phone calls last year and has warned funding shortages mean it will struggle to cope with demand.
Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh North and Leith MSP, said he would raise the issue along with Lothians MSP Kezia Dugdale at the 20th anniversary of Zero Tolerance, a major campaign working to tackle the causes of men’s violence against women, at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.
He said: “I’m very concerned about the 50 per cent cut in lottery funding which will have a major effect on front-line services at Rape Crisis Edinburgh. I am meeting with them to discuss this on Friday and I’ll be raising this at the debate on 20 years of Zero Tolerance.
“Obviously alternative funding must be found whether it’s from the Scottish Governement, which already gives £50,000 to each centre, or elsewhere.
“These services are, unfortunately, needed by a large number of women and its vitally important they have this support.”
The stark situation facing the service in the Capital was spelled out in no uncertain terms by Caroline Burrell, national co-ordinator of Rape Crisis Scotland: “We are the only service of our kind in Edinburgh, East and Midlothian, and are currently facing a 50 per cent loss to our annual income due to the end of key funding streams. This potentially translates to a 50 per cent cut in our services for girls, women and transgender people affected by sexual violence. The impact will be devastating.”
Nationwide across 13 Scottish centres, Rape Crisis Scotland handled 12,622 calls last year from 1697 victims, an increase on a high of 12,418 in 2011.