A NEW rape crisis centre is to replace a previous service that was forced to close down when an employment tribunal ordered them to payout almost £20,000.

Forth Valley Rape Crisis Centre has received £50,000 in funding from the Scottish Government and officials at national charity Rape Crisis Scotland are in the process of securing new premises for the hub.

The new centre which is expected to open later this year will offer a support service for sexual abuse victims in Central Scotland.

It comes after Central Scotland Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre in Stirling entered liquidation and closed down after a tribunal found a board member threatened and intimidated staff.

The tribunal ruled that 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.

The centre closed down in January last year and since then those affected by sexual abuse in the Central Scotland area have been seen by rape crisis staff in Glasgow.

The national charity, Rape Crisis Scotland, was keen that alleged victims of rape's access to support should not be affected by the outcome of the case.

It is now overseeing the new project and have already recruited a new manager and an advocacy worker for the centre.

Sandy Brindley, national coordinator for Rape Crisis Scotland, said: "What we obviously want to do is make sure that every survivor in the area is able to access support and receive the best possible service.

"We commissioned Glasgow Rape Crisis to provide an interim service so that's been in place from the start and service users in the area shouldn't have noticed any difference.

"But what we are looking forward to now is the new centre being up and running and being able to expand the provision.

"We're also looking forward to working in partnership with other agencies in the area to ensure survivors are receiving the best possible care and support."

The tribunal ruling relating to the old centre found that management failed to follow up on numerous complaints about Mr Dennett, resulting in an award of £19,426.58 for constructive dismissal to former worker Helen McKean.

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

Central Scotland Rape Crisis, which received funding from the Scottish Government as well as other public sources and donations, reported a deficit of £11,087 in 2014.

Following the tribunal, Mr Dennett said it was "unfortunate" that the case had not been defended by the centre.