Coventry Liberal Democrats urge Council to support the Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC)

9 Feb 2024
CRASAC Logo

Coventry Liberal Democrats are extremely disappointed in the decision to withdraw funding for CRASAC from July 2024 and urge Council leaders to reconsider to ensure that the City's only specialist sexual violence support service can continue operating.

Due to the decision to withdraw funding, CRASAC have already been forced to close their waiting list for victims aged 13 and over with the waiting list for those aged 13 and under due to close on the 1st of April 2024. CRASAC being unable to provide this care means that survivors of sexual abuse will not only be denied specialised care and counselling but the knock-on effects will hinder the ability of partner agencies to be able to support vulnerable people, particularly child victims.

CRASAC has seen counselling referrals increase from 600 in 2020-21 to 1,000 in 2022-23 and has been doing more with less money as funding has been frozen over that period despite inflation impacting the ability to provide care. CRASAC state that there are "just under 500 people waiting a year for counselling and a fifth of those accessing services are children under 18" with many referrals to them coming directly from social services (15%) or from the health sector (30%). Due to pressures on similar services in Warwickshire and the West Midlands, other specialist centres will be unable to accept referrals from outside their area making it crucial to ensure that CRASAC are able to operate.

The Coventry Liberal Democrats believe in a strong voluntary sector able to complement the efforts of the public and private sector in dealing with issues that may otherwise slip through the cracks and remain unresolved, CRASAC is a crucial part of this locally for an issue affecting many people - especially children - in Coventry. An estimated 20,000 people are victims of child sexual abuse in the West Midlands each year with waiting times doubling since 2015. The individuals who spend their time dealing with these issues deserve our support and appreciation to help continue their crucial services. While we appreciate the Council's budget will be stretched a middle ground must be found to complement funding from the Council with other sources of fundraising to ensure a level of care and support can be provided.

Chair of the Coventry Liberal Democrats, Jamie Simpson, said:

"CRASAC provides counselling and support for people who have suffered rape or sexual abuse. During my clinical practice I have referred and signposted patients to their specialist support.

"The sexual abuse survivors of Coventry should not have to suffer due to the Council's financial mismanagement. I urge people to sign their petition and offer support."

CRASAC will be staging a protest outside Coventry Council House, Earl Street on Tuesday 20th February from 12pm.

A link to CRASAC's initial statement, dated the 31st of January 2024, can be found here.

A link to CRASAC's response to Coventry City Council, dated the 8th of February 2024, can be found here.

A direct link to CRASAC's petition can be found here.