Deputy First Minister John Swinney gave the assurances to Monica Lennon in Holyrood.
A Scottish charity supporting survivors of sexual assault has pleaded for “life-saving” funding to be extended amid fears of 28 job losses and growing waiting lists.
Rape Crisis Scotland has warned this week that additional support is needed from the Scottish Government, asking ministers to extend the money given to the charity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The charity, claimed that while the £1,125,000 grant it received during the pandemic “fell short” of the £4million it had requested, the money allowed 10 of its centres to tackle waiting lists for its services.
Reports in the Daily Record suggest that 28 jobs could be lost if funding is not provided - which the charity say would be “catastrophic” for services.
Rape Crisis Scotland Chief Executive Sandy Brindley told the newspaper: “The support that rape crisis centres offer is truly life-saving. It is heart-breaking that a lack of resources means that some survivors are unable to access support when they need it.
“Extending the waiting list funding is critical for rape crisis services to be able to function.
“But rape crisis centres also need more sustainable long term funding. Without reliable funding, highly skilled and trained rape crisis support workers are left on precarious contracts. Unstable funding risks rape crisis services losing highly trained staff.
“We understand there are many pressures on public funding right now. But funding must be delivered for essential services, which rape crisis services are, to be able to offer people across Scotland crucial support.
“Survivors must feel able to contact their local rape crisis centre if they’re in need of support. We’d urge any survivor who is thinking about reaching out to do so.”
Following the plea, Labour MSP Monica Lennon asked Deputy First Minister John Swinney during his statement on 2023/24’s Scottish Budget what funding will be provided to support Rape Crisis Scotland.
She asked what provisions would be made to support the lifesaving services provided by the charity across the country.
Mr Swinney said: “I’m aware of the concerns that have been raised and obviously I value very much the services that Rape Crisis Scotland are providing. The Scottish Government has made financial commitments which provide funding that continues into the latter part of 2023 but I understand there are earlier challenges to that so I give Monica Lennon the assurance that the government will engage constructively in addressing that issue.
“It’s not all about a next year issue, some of it is about a this year issue which is, as I have recounted to parliament, particularly challenging for the government. But I do come at this from a sympathetic point of view and will try to address these issues.”