A fund set up by British celebrities in response to the #MeToo movement has given more than £1m to women’s groups across the UK.
The Justice and Equality Fund has been backed by stars including Emma Watson, Keira Knightley and Jodie Whittaker.
The first grants were given to seven UK organisations which help women who have suffered sexual harassment and abuse.
Harry Potter star Watson, who donated £1m to the fund earlier this year, said it was “just the beginning”.
She added that the grants were “pivotal in supporting the dynamic work of vital UK women’s organisations”.
Almost exactly a year after the first #MeToo tweet – the Justice and Equality Fund awarded £1,027,699 to seven women’s organisations in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
These were the first grants to be awarded from the fund. The next recipients will be announced in November.
The Women’s Aid Federation in Northern Ireland will receive £200,000 to re-establish a pilot rape crisis service there after a 12-year gap.
Knightley said: “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 front-line organisations doing such critical work with women and girls across the UK.”
Other organisations receiving grants include:
- Nearly £200,000 to Rights Of Women, for a free, confidential helpline led by female lawyers offering specialist legal advice
- More than £88,000 to Welsh Women’s Aid to provide training in women’s support services across Wales
- More than £130,000 to London Black Women’s Project, providing specialist advice to black and minority ethnic and migrant women
Samantha Rennie, executive director of the charity Rosa, which manages the Justice and Equality Fund, said the grants would ensure “no-one is left unsupported when they have been harassed”.
“We’re delighted that so many individuals and Time’s 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.”
The #MeToo movement began with a tweet by actress Alyssa Milano in October 2017 after dozens of women came forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, abuse or rape.
The Hollywood-based Time’s Up project – and its British arm, Time’s Up UK – followed, with more than 300 actresses, writers and directors raising money to support women who have been victims of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.