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2009 National Women's Conference
21 October 2008
Carried as Amended

Conference applauds the National Women’s Committee for its previously undertaken work on sexual violence and the conference policy decisions to support the work of Rape Crisis. However there is much still to do.

Conference believes that rape crisis centres are essential and distinctly different in their role to the government created Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC’s).

Conference is deeply concerned at the gaps in rape crisis provision across the country, which results in a postcode lottery where some women have no access to a Rape Crisis Centre.

Conference is pleased to see that Harriet Harman gave emergency funding for ailing Rape Crisis Centres in 2008 however; funding is not the only problem: Rape Crisis Centres need more than money. Rape Crisis Centres need good women to volunteer: volunteers who can support their work; who can raise funds, and who can become trustees; they also need volunteers to answer the phone.

Women who have been raped are likely to have subsequent attendance and performance issues at work and may need the support of the UNISON branch when these matters are addressed.

Conference therefore instructs the National Women’s Committee to:

1)Recommend that Branches make contact with their local rape crisis centres to build alliances and work collaboratively

2)Recommend that Branches are encouraged to train volunteer women activists to signpost women who have been raped to specialist organisations when disclosures are made.

3)Request that Regional women’s Committees actively campaign with other relevant and concerned groups to see the gaps in rape crisis provision closed.

4)Request that Regional Women’s Committees ensure that training is provided to volunteer women activists to raise levels of knowledge and awareness of sexual violence and the adverse impact it has in women’s lives, in order to better represent women.

5)Vigorously encourage UNISON women members to volunteer with their local rape crisis centres, to get involved through becoming a trustee, a support worker, or a listening ear on a telephone.

6)Report back to National Women’s Conference 2010 on the work undertaken and progress made.