CHARITIES dedicated to helping survivors of abuse and rape victims are to be given Scottish Government funding on a three-year basis in future, a move that Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said would provide “greater clarity and reassurance” for them.

From July, funding awards from the equalities budget will be made every three years, instead of cash being provided for 12 months at a time.

Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland both welcomed the move, saying it would allow them to spend more time helping women “rather than filling out yearly application forms”.

Constance announced the change as she met staff and volunteers at Women’s Aid in Stirling.

More than £20 million of funding will be given to projects and initiatives from the government’s equalities budget for 2016-17, with £11.8m being invested in frontline services helping women and children who have experienced domestic abuse.

“We are committed to tackling all forms of violence against women and girls, and to supporting the organisations that provide this vital support,” said Constance. “I’m delighted to announce we will be moving to a three-year funding programme, in particular for projects supporting women and girls affected by violence.

“This will provide greater clarity and reassurance for this sector, allowing them to plan for the longer-term.”

Marsha Scott, chair of Scottish Women’s Aid, said: “It is hard to overstate how important a more stable and efficient funding environment is to our women’s aid groups, our women’s sector partners who do such important work to address the causes of domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women and girls, and to ourselves. Three-year contracts allow us all to spend more time on service provision and investment in early intervention.”

Rape Crisis Scotland national co-ordinator Sandy Brindley said: “Equality organisations throughout Scotland play a vital role in protecting and promoting the human rights of different groups within society.

“Security of funding is crucial for organisations such as rape crisis centres. Crucially, it means that we can dedicate more resources to our work supporting survivors of sexual violence, rather than filling out yearly application forms.”