The Justice and Equality Fund

Over £1,000,000 awarded from The Justice and Equality Fund, supported by TIME’S UP UK, to specialist organisations across the UK to help women who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse

The Justice and Equality Fund, managed by Rosa and supported by TIME’S UP UK, has today awarded £1,027,699 in grants through the Advice and Support programme to resource seven women’s organisations in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, who are working to provide advice and support to women who have experienced sexual harassment. This comes on the heels of the £24,000 given by the Fund, to 12 women’s organisations who are working to change and reframe the conversation around sexual harassment.

Grants include £194,168 to Rights of Women who will resource a free and confidential helpline led by women lawyers offering specialist legal advice to women experiencing sexual harassment; £88,484 to Welsh Women’s Aid to provide training that will increase the knowledge and skill of women's support services across Wales; and £133,402 to London Black Women’s Project who will focus on providing specialist advice to BME and migrant women. Grants also include £200,000 to Women’s Aid Federation in Northern Ireland to establish a pilot rape crisis service supporting the skills and capacity of specialist women’s organisations to meet the needs of survivors of rape, sexual harassment and abuse, bridging a critical gap as there has not been a rape crisis service in Northern Ireland for the last 12 years following funding cuts.

Emma Watson, initial donor to the Justice and Equality Fund and TIME’S UP UK catalyst said; "This first round of Justice and Equality Fund grants is pivotal in supporting the dynamic work of vital UK women's organisations like London Black Women's Project, who provide specialist advice and support to women of colour and migrant survivors of abuse. Following funding cuts, Northern Ireland has been without a rape crisis service for the last 12 years. That's an incredibly dire situation, now alleviated by the tireless efforts of organisers and your donations to the JEF crowdfunder: A huge thank you to each and every member of the public, and colleagues from my own industry, who have already donated. Much more needs to be raised so please give what you can, financial support is an instrumental act of solidarity with under-resourced organisations and campaign groups. TIME’S UP UK will continue to work in unity with women’s rights and equality movements to campaign for systemic change. This year is just the beginning."

Baljit Banga, Director at the London Black Women project, says “This award by Rosa recognises the critical need of this work focusing on an under-represented and often overlooked group. We look forward to a productive two-year partnership delivering rights based support under an intersectional approach and working towards a world free of sexual harassment and all forms of violence against women and girls. Thank you Rosa for helping us to address the needs of minoritised women.”

"For far too long, women facing sexual harassment and abuse have faced a postcode lottery. Specialist support services are patchy and stretched, leaving many women with nowhere to turn for help," said Samantha Rennie, Executive Director at Rosa, the UK Fund for Women and Girls.

These grants will help ensure that no-one is left unsupported when they have been harassed. We're delighted that so many individuals and TIMES UP have reached out in solidarity to make this happen. But we need to do more - to get these services on a stable footing, and tackle the culture that means abusers can act with impunity."

Dame Heather Rabbatts, TIME’S UP UK catalyst and donor to the Justice and Equality Fund said; “We know that over half the population of the UK don’t feel safe in their work environments. More than half of all women and nearly two-thirds of women aged 18 to 24 say they have experienced sexual harassment at work. And we have learned from recent research, that in around half of the cases where individuals report the incident, employers take no action. Nearly one in five women in England and Wales have suffered sexual assault. And yet services that support people who have experienced such abuse are under-funded and over-stretched. With TIME’S UP and the Justice and Equality Fund we are calling time on sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace, and believe that everyone deserves to live and work with safety and dignity. These grants announced today are a step towards achieving just that.”

Keira Knightley, TIME’S UP UK catalyst and donor to the Justice and Equality Fund said; “I’m so excited to see the results of the journey we’ve been on to set up the Justice and Equality Fund. To be able to fund the first rape crisis service provision in Northern Ireland for 12 years feels like a huge step forward. I hope we can continue to raise funds to support more of the frontline organisations doing such critical work with women and girls across the UK.”

Gemma Chan, TIME’S UP UK catalyst and donor to the Justice and Equality Fund said; “The Justice and Equality Fund is enabling frontline organisations to deploy critical resources the length and breadth of the UK. For example, the Scottish Women's Rights Centre is uniquely positioned to deliver specialist legal support to women survivors of sexual harassment in Scotland, and funding to the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre for England and Wales will keep a helpline open every day, for 365 days a year – we know that many women and girls find it easier to talk anonymously and in confidence about experiences of rape or sexual violence, so this is a huge step and we hope just the beginning of what the Justice and Equality Fund can help to realise.”

The Justice and Equality Fund has been made possible by funding from Comic Relief and a crowdfunder on GoFundMe which saw donations from many including Emma Watson who donated £1million to get the fund off the ground, Keira Knightley, Gemma Chan and Tom Hiddleston.

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