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£5m increase for rape and sexual abuse victims

18 September 2019

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Specialist support services for victims of rape and sexual assault will receive a £5m boost from the government, Justice Minister Wendy Morton MP announced today.

The move will see a 50 per cent increase in the money available – up from £8m to £12m per year – for a range of services across the country, including tailored face-to-face support and counselling.  

This additional funding includes £1m for the recruitment of more independent sexual violence advisors (ISVAs), who provide advice and support for victims and act as the link between police, support services and criminal justice agencies.

New national minimum standards for ISVAs will also be developed to help ensure victims across the country receive consistent, high-quality support.

The government has also pledged to consult early next year on a new victims’ law and publish a revised victims’ code, setting out the minimum level of service victims can expect from criminal justice agencies.

Justice minister Wendy Morton (pictured) said: “Rape and sexual assault are horrific crimes, and this cash injection will boost vital services so every victim can access the specialist emotional and practical support they need. There is still much more to do, but by increasing funding twice this year and bringing forward plans for a victims’ law, this government is sending a clear message that we stand shoulder to shoulder with those who face recovering from such terrible crimes.”

Victims’ commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC said: “Complainants of rape and sexual assault who have the courage to report their experience demonstrate immense bravery and must be given all the support they need so that justice can be done. I very much welcome this additional funding but there is much more to do, including improving the way police and prosecutors handle these horrific crimes.”

She also welcomed the government’s commitment to bring forward the long-awaited victims’ law and updates to the victims’ code. “Backing up current rights with legislation and strong implementation will ensure justice is improved”, she added.

Rape Crisis policy officer Amelia Handy said: “We are encouraged by the announcement of much-needed additional funding for specialist Rape Crisis Centres, and by the government’s recognition for specialist services for victims and survivors. Last year nearly 80,000 individuals accessed Rape Crisis services, meaning this funding uplift will contribute towards specialist Rape Crisis service delivery at a time when need, demand and service provision are at unprecedented levels.

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Crime