JK Rowling launches women-only service for sexual abuse victims
JK Rowling has founded a women-only service for survivors of sexual violence.
The author has launched the Edinburgh-based service, Beira’s Place, amid concerns the Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill, which is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament, will threaten women-only spaces.
Rowling said there is an “unmet need” for Scottish women who want “women-centred and women-delivered care at such a vulnerable time”. Having written about abuse she suffered in her twenties, she hopes that one-to-one counselling offered by Beira’s Place “will enable more women to process and recover from their trauma”.
The centre’s board of directors includes former Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont.
Beira’s Place can legally exclude males from using their service under the exemptions of the 2010 Equality Act, which allows single-sex services if they are “a proportionate means to achieve a legitimate end”.
The service, which is named after the goddess of winter in Scottish folklore, is not a charity but a privately funded service by Rowling. It has not been disclosed how much the author will donate.
Last month, Reem Alsalem, UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, raised concerns over the GRR bill, highlighting a lack of clarity around how the legislation would interact with the Equality Act and expressing concern about a lack of safeguarding, particularly for female victims of male violence.