A RAPE crisis centre where a board member threatened and intimidated staff has closed down after being ordered to pay out almost £20,000 at an employment tribunal.

Central Scotland Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre in Stirling is understood to be in the process of entering liquidation after failing to take action over the treatment of its staff.

It follows a tribunal ruling which found former board member Duncan Dennett, who was last year awarded an MBE, "regularly demonstrated aggression" within the centre - including on one occasion when a rape victim was receiving advice.

Centre chairwoman Ann Ballinger failed to follow up on numerous complaints against Mr Dennett, resulting in former worker Helen McKean being awarded £19,426.58 for constructive dismissal.

It is understood the payout is a contributing factor in the decision to close the organisation down.

Rape Crisis Scotland is now working to try to set up a new support service for sexual abuse victims in Central Scotland.

A spokeswoman said: "Our priority is to ensure that survivors in the area have access to appropriate support, and we will be providing an interim service to survivors in partnership with Glasgow Rape Crisis while the new centre is being established."

The Scottish Government provided funding of £50,000 a year to Central Scotland Rape Crisis between 2012 and 2015.

An interim service will be provided by Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre, with existing funding transferring there as appropriate.

A government spokesman said: "We will be working closely with Rape Crisis Scotland to ensure a new local rape crisis service is established for Central Scotland as soon as practicable.

"Funding for this new service will be contingent upon it meeting eligibility requirements for Scottish Government funding, including Rape Crisis Scotland's National Service Standards.

"Rape and other forms of sexual violence are among the most distressing crimes in our society.

"The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to ensuring that victims of sexual violence receive the help and support that they need."

Central Scotland Rape Crisis, which also receives other public funding and donations, reported a deficit of £11,087 last year.

However, Ms McKean - who is now unlikely to receive the money she is owed - claimed that while she was employed at the centre, there was insurance in place to cover action such as this.

She added that she would never have taken the case to tribunal if she believed it would take funding away from victims.

The 51-year-old, of Stirling, said: "Hopefully I'll still get some of the money I'm owed, but the more important thing now is that there is somewhere else for survivors to go, that they can still get support for what they've been through."

Mr Dennett has said it was "unfortunate" that the employment tribunal had not been defended by the centre.