South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has urged the Scottish Government to take urgent action after new figures showed a 7-8 month waiting time for Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, which covers the Scottish Borders.

The local MSP believes that a lack of funding is leading to the lengthy delays and has written to the Minister for Equalities, Christina McKelvie urging her to allocate extra support for the Centre.

The waiting times figures were revealed in an answer to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Scottish Labour. The answer showed that as of August 2018 female rape survivors had to wait 8 months to attend a Rape Crisis Centre for vital support in the Borders.

Colin Smyth said, “These figures are deeply worrying. It is unacceptable that here in the Borders, traumatised women and girls are having to wait 8 months to be able to access essential support. It is extremely difficult for sexual assault survivors to come forward after being attacked. The very least we can do is to ensure that rapid access to essential and specialist services is available.

South West Rape Crisis Centre do great work in the region but they clearly need more support. The Scottish Government said when they announced their programme of Government recently that they would invest more over the next three years to speed up access to support for those affected by rape or sexual assault. It is paramount that this funding is made available immediately and that it gets to where it is needed to ensure that recruitment and training is carried out straight away. I have written to the Equalities Minister urging her to look at this issue urgently and make additional funding available here in the Borders as soon as possible.”

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