Alliance Deputy Leader Eileen Bell has slammed the Government’s failure to ensure the future of the Rape Crisis Centre, saying its mandate is to ensure the Centre remains open.
Mrs Bell, the Party’s equality spokesperson, stated: “I am absolutely disgusted that the funding has not been found to ensure the future of the Rape Crisis Centre. The Government has no democratic mandate to see this centre closed.
“The Centre had the full support of the Assembly, and it was assured that it would have the funding made available to remain open. The Assembly had the democratic mandate to see to that, and that mandate must be respected.
“We cannot possibly hope to deal with the heinous issue of rape solely through the law courts. This is a far, far broader issue than that. No one is suggesting that any organization should not reform, but it is absolutely essential that the services the Rape Crisis Centre provides remain available to people right across Northern Ireland. Anything less would be totally unacceptable.
“Failure to secure funding for the Centre will be looked upon as yet another stage of the Government’s ‘hatchet job’ on Northern Ireland. This would be yet another morally bankrupt act. The victims of rape cannot be turned into political pawns.”