Letter to Boris Johnson re Rape Crisis Centres

Below is a letter to Boris Johnson, regarding his Mayoral manifesto commitment to funding four new Rape Crisis Centres in London. It is important that LFN members send the message to the Mayor to remind him that we haven’t forgotten his pledge! Please send, amended or personalised as you wish, either as an email to: boris.johnson@london.gov.uk or as a letter to:

Boris Johnson
Mayor’s Office
Greater London Authority
City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
London SE1 2AA

Dear Mr Johnson,

I am writing to you as a member of the London Feminist Network, a group of over six hundred women in London involved in various campaigns to support women’s rights, including the annual Reclaim the Night march against rape and male violence. I am writing regarding your manifesto pledge to fund four new rape crisis centres in London. As you are aware, London has lost two rape crisis centres over the past decade, and there is only one now remaining, in Zone 5. The dire state of funding in rape crisis and other services for women experiencing male violence has been documented in recent reports such as `The Crisis in Rape Crisis’ (Women’s Resources Centre) and `Map of Gaps: the Postcode Lottery of Violence Against Women Support Services’ (End Violence Against Women Coalition). As these publications indicate, the consequences of this underfunding can be devastating for women needing services. Key findings from the ‘Map of Gaps’ report include the fact that most women in the UK do not have access to rape crisis centres; a third of all local authorities have no specialist violence against women support services; and fewer than one in ten local authorities has specialist services for ethnic minority women that would address forced marriage, female genital mutilation and crimes in the name of honour, amongst other issues.

In the light of what we know of the extent of violence against women in our society – including the fact that in the UK over 45% of women have experienced some form of domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking, and it is conservatively estimated that 80,000 women suffer rape every year – this lack of provision is a scandalous indictment of our society’s failure to care for women’s safety and wellbeing. I understand that you are currently developing a strategy to address all forms of violence against women in London. I would appreciate information as to the aims and reach of this strategy, and an indication of the timescale for its implementation. I would also appreciate information on the timescale for the provision of the four new rape crisis centres.

Given the serious failings outlined in the reports mentioned above, I would appreciate your reassurance that both the new strategy and rape crisis centres will be implemented as a matter of the utmost urgency.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

__________________________

Don’t forget to sign!