Hackney project that runs Boris’ rape crisis centre suffers ‘unfair’ cuts

The nia project has worked with victims of domestic violence in the borough for 36 years

The Hackney organisation chosen to run Boris Johnson’s rape crisis centre in east London is set to lose a quarter of its funding by 2012.

The nia project, which has worked with victims of domestic violence in the borough for 36 years, saw 100 per cent of its town hall support withdrawn this year.

The project received �89,824 in area-based grants from the town hall in 2010/11 but no funding in 2011/12.

Money for east London’s new rape crisis centre, which was launched by the Mayor of London last December, only currently stretches until March.

And the future of the nia project is now hanging on a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Chief executive of the project Karen Ingala Smith said: “Funding this year has been very very thin. It’s really important we do not create the impression that we are on the verge of closing but on the other hand things are really difficult and we have had to cut back on what we do.”

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Among the services lost has been a scheme working with the perpetrators of domestic violence.

Meanwhile, the number of Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) the nia project provides has been cut from four to the equivalent of 1.6 full time workers.

Ms Ingala Smith said she feared the town hall funding had not been distributed fairly but spent on the council’s in-house team, which she argued defied government guidance.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles told authorities not to impose larger cuts on voluntary groups than themselves.

“It is disappointing. It leads us to question to commitment of that councils have to good quality voluntary sector organisations that are already providing a good service in the borough,” she said.

Deputy Mayor of Hackney, Councillor Sophie Linden, said: “We are committed to supporting victims of domestic violence in Hackney, and will provide a quality Independent Domestic Violence Advisory service.

“We have had to bring the service in-house, because of cuts to the grants which we receive from central government.

“However, we will continue to work with the nia project and they remain a valued partner.”