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2008 National Women's Conference
22 October 2007
Carried as Amended

Conference is concerned at the lack of funding for women’s sector organisations which has resulted in the closure of much needed Rape Crisis centres. In 2007 only 32 Rape Crisis centres remained in England and Wales, compared to 84 in 1985, and in July 2007 it was estimated that half of these would be closed before the year was out.

Thousands of the estimated 80,000 women who suffer rape or attempted rape every year will be left without vital support if more centres close their doors, in a crisis partly caused by government failure to provide consistent support.

When rape conviction rates stand at 5.3% their lowest for 30 years, it is a national scandal that an organisation offering support and counselling to the victims of sexual violence is having to struggle annually to secure grant monies to keep it going. Government claims to be committed to the victims of rape ring hollow, when they consistently fail to offer concrete support to those victims.

Conference instructs the National Women’s Committee to:

1)Work with Rape Crisis and other voluntary sector women’s organizations to develop a campaigning strategy to urge the Government to grant long-term secure funding to the women’s sector.

2)Work with the NEC and Labour Link to lobby UNISON MP’s about this issue

3)Highlight the crisis in Rape Crisis to members and activists through articles in UNISON publications such as Focus.

4)Ensure that the campaign for sustained funding for Rape Crisis and other Women’s Sector organisations in integrated into UNISON’s Violence against Women campaigning.

5)Publicise and urge members to sign the Cosmopolitan magazine online petition against the closure of rape crisis centres.