A month after opposition politicians on the London Assembly accused him of failing rape victims in the capital and breaking a key election promise, Boris Johnson has announced £1.4 million of funding over three years to improve the provision of rape crisis centres.
In April the Mayor launched a policy document setting out his vision for a programme of action to tackle violence against women. Entitled ‘The Way Forward – A call for action to end violence against women’, the document is open to public consultation until July 20th and sets out a number of areas for action.
During last year’s election campaign Johnson said he would fund four rape crisis centres in the capital “by cutting the number of GLA spin doctors”. The lack of any funding announcement last month led to criticism from Labour and Green Party Assembly Members.
Commenting last month on “The Way Forward”, Labour’s McCartney said: “After a year in charge Boris could have done better than this. While there are some good points on what the criminal justice system can and should do, we are none the wiser about what the Mayor himself is doing, what resources he is putting or why he has slashed the funding for rape crisis centres. We need to see action, not warm words and hot air.”
Jenny Jones, who represents the Green Party on the Assembly said: “If you promise something you must jolly well get on and deliver it. There’s a lot of back-tracking going on and a lot of women need these centres and need them immediately. Women in London have been let down by the police over the Worboys case and other investigations into rape. Now the Mayor is letting them down over his promise of more support.”
City Hall officials say the funding announced today is possible because of efficiency savings, in line with the Mayor’s manifesto commitment.
Johnson commented: “Thanks to efficiency savings we made through my first budget, we can confirm £1.4 million has been set aside to help women recover from this appalling experience.”
“This new long-term funding demonstrates our wholehearted commitment to reverse the years of neglect of those affected by sexual violence and to end violence against women in the capital.”
Some of the £1.4m will be used to support the rape crisis centre in Croydon, the Greater London Authority is currently working to identify gaps in rape crisis provision to ensure the funds deliver the greatest benefits.
Responding to today’s announcement Jenny Jones said: “I welcome the extra funding, but Boris is four months behind in taking action and still a year short of the required cash. Many women have welcomed his strong words on violence against women, but he is still dragging his feet on the one solid proposal he has committed to.”
Jones accused the Mayor of giving women in London “two thirds of his promise of more support.”