THE East Lothian Sexual Abuse Service (ELSAS) has said it has been forced into a “temporary closure” due to a lack of funding.

The free service supports survivors of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse across East Lothian.

In a statement, a spokesperson said there was a “huge demand” for their services and that they were doing everything they could to find further funding.

But, in the meantime, they would have to close their waiting list to new referrals from December 20.

The service specified, however, that all their other services remain open, including:

  • Edinburgh Adult Service
  • STAR service for young people aged 12 – 18
  • Student Survivors project
  • Outreach support in Midlothian
  • SIA project for black and minority ethnic survivors
  • Recent rape or sexual assault within the last 14 days

A statement read: “Today (Wednesday 20 December), we have had to take the very difficult decision to close our East Lothian Sexual Abuse Service (ELSAS) waiting list to new referrals. We are having to do this because of insecurity of funding for this service.

“We need sustained funding to meet the huge demand for all our services and we are doing everything we can to seek additional funding, and work to reduce our waiting lists and waiting times.”

For those seeking support, the service offered this link for alternative sources of support. You can also contact the Rape Crisis Scotland national helpline on 08088 01 03 02 (open every day from 5pm until midnight) for support.