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Rape Crisis Centre

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to ensure the continued operation of the Rape Crisis Centre in Belfast; and if he will make a statement. (86319)

Government are committed to funding high-quality services which provide the best possible support for victims of rape and sexual violence in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has previously highlighted to the Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre (NI) Ltd. concerns regarding the failure of the organisation to comply with the terms and conditions of grant funding. These concerns included the keeping of proper records, sound financial accountability and proper corporate governance arrangements.

The latest financial verification report indicates a continuing failure to address the long-standing issues raised and the Department has now advised the organisation that it is mindful to cease funding and invited any comments it wishes to make on this matter within 14 days.

The decision to cease funding for any organisation which provides a service to vulnerable people is never taken lightly. However, in view of the continued failure of this organisation to meet Government accounting requirements, the Department has been left with no other option but to cease funding.

The funding that would have been directed to the Rape Crisis Centre will be allocated to other support services for victims of rape and sexual violence.