Galway Rape Crisis Centre is not closing – that is the clear message this week from the centre, who have moved to clarify their position in the wake of recent confusion surrounding the centre’s future.
Huge distress was caused to clients, survivors and those affected by issues surrounding sexual violence after recent reports claimed that the centre was closing due to funding cuts.
Speaking to the Galway Independent, Executive Director of the Centre, Áine Feeney, stated that, in fact, their funding for this year has remained the same as last year.
Ms Feeney said, “We assure all survivors and victims of sexual violence that Galway Rape Crisis Centre continues to be funded by TUSLA and that there is no risk to the funding currently being provided to Galway Rape Crisis Centre by TUSLA, who are our main state funders.
“We are actively engaged with TUSLA in the ongoing review of the sexual violence sector and look forward to working with them to move the centre to an appropriate advanced level to take into account the expansive services provided by the centre via staff and volunteers.
“We want to ensure all of our clients that we continue to be open and there is no question that there is a risk to the services being provided.”
Recent media reports which referred to the discontinuation of funding to Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI), a separate organisation also based in Galway, had distressed a number of clients of the Galway Rape Crisis Centre.
A statement issued this week by the Galway Rape Crisis Centre said the information being disseminated in relation to the discontinuation of funding by TUSLA had caused widespread distress, not alone among survivors of sexual violence but also all those affected by issues surrounding sexual violence in the West of Ireland.
This distress, unfortunately, was entirely unnecessary, said Galway Rape Crisis Centre. The centre, based in Forster Court, continues to be funded by TUSLA and there is no threat to the front line services which are supplied exclusively by Galway Rape Crisis Centre in Galway City and County.
Rape Crisis Network Ireland, also located in Galway City, is a national umbrella organisation which provides, as part of its services, a data collection facility to some of the 16 rape crisis centres in the country. Galway Rape Crisis Centre, which has its own independent database, is not a member of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland.
Galway East TD Colm Keaveney, who issued a statement on the purported funding cut, has clarified that he was inadvertently incorrectly advised that the Rape Crisis Centres had suffered a cut, but, having received clarification from the Galway centre, is happy to accept that the information was incorrect and that the cuts referred to in his statement did not accurately reflect the situation in Galway.
Deputy Keaveney also acknowledged the important work the Galway Rape Crisis Centre does.”The issue of domestic violence and sexual violence has not received the attention it ought to. An important step would be for the government to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
“Again, I condemn the cuts imposed on the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland by TUSLA, but fortunately this does not affect the frontline services, including counselling and advocacy provided by Galway Rape Crisis Centre.
“The RCNI’s work in collecting and analysing information on sexual violence across the State was an important part of giving victims a voice to government. I am calling on the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to reconsider this decision.”
Galway Rape Crisis Centre continues, on a daily basis, to provide crisis counselling and long term counselling in addition to providing a help line which is open between the hours of 10am-1pm and thereafter diverts to the national helpline which is provided by Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. The Galway centre also provides education and training programmes to schools and private companies on issues surrounding sexual health issues.
Galway Rape Crisis Centre is currently actively engaging with TUSLA regarding developments within the sector and Executive Director Áine Feeney sits on the national reference group which is engaged with overseeing a reconfiguration of the sector, including the development of a new national data collection system.
TUSLA is currently modelling their system based on the procedures in place in Galway Rape Crisis Centre. “To be in such a position allows Galway Rape Crisis Centre the unique position to have an independent voice for survivors in the West of Ireland direct to the heart of the main funders for the Rape Crisis Centre,” said Galway Rape Crisis Centre in a statement.
The Galway Rape Crisis Centre Helpline can be contacted on 1800-355355.