Scotland's Rape Crisis centres to receive £1.5m funding
Fourteen Rape Crisis centres across Scotland are to receive extra government funding to allow them to expand support services.
The centres are to receive a total of £1.5m over three years.
Dundee and Glasgow will get £74,000 each, with other regions set to receive between £10,000 and £37,000 of funding.
The centres offer a safe environment for emotional and practical support for anyone affected by sexual violence.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the centres would be given additional funding when she outlined her programme for government in September.
Equalities minister Christina McKelvie said the Scottish government was "committed to preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls".
"A huge part of delivering on that commitment is ensuring that victims of rape or sexual assault are able to come forward and access the right support when they need it," said Ms McKelvie.
"The work that rape crisis centres do is invaluable and that is why I am delighted to confirm the distribution to 14 centres - from Shetland to the Scottish Borders - of £1.5m over the next three years."
The centres offer a range of support to survivors at time of crisis and over a longer period of time.
Support staff are on hand to conduct face-to-face meetings and relaxation therapy, as well as accompanying survivors to court and informing them on the law.
Rape Crisis Scotland's chief executive, Sandy Brindley, said: "This funding will make a big difference to the support available across Scotland to survivors of sexual violence.
"Many Rape Crisis centres currently have significant waiting lists, and we know that having plucked up the courage to contact a Rape Crisis service, being told there is a waiting list can be very distressing.
"Rape is a crime which can have a devastating impact, and support should be available when someone needs it. This funding won't solve all of the problems caused by the under funding of rape crisis centres across Scotland, but it will make a considerable difference."
Sexual offences in Scotland
- Figures show that one in 10 women in Scotland has experienced rape, and one in five women in Scotland has had someone try to make them have sex against their will.
- Police Scotland have recorded 2,225 accounts of rape and attempted rape in 2017-18, a 20% increase from the previous year.
- While figures for many crimes in Scotland are going down, for sexual offences they continue to rise.
- Sexual crimes have been on a long-term upward trend since 1974, and have increased each consecutive year since 2008-09.
Source: National Statistics for Scotland/Rape Crisis Scotland
Earlier this year, Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis, had to receive emergency Scottish government funding after a BBC Children in Need grant was not renewed.
In her programme for government, Ms Sturgeon revealed plans for an additional £2m of funding, including the £1.5m for Rape Crisis centres, for "improving the experience of rape and sexual assault victims".
The programme for government stated: "The remainder of the funding will be used for other initiatives focused on prevention and early intervention and help to ensure that gender based violence is reduced and prevented from happening in the first place."