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Funding boost for victims of rape and sexual abuse

Government to fund more rape support centres than ever before across England and Wales.

  • rape support services will receive £24 million over 3 years
  • government increases funding by 10% to help meet growing demand

Rape and sexual abuse support services across England and Wales have been awarded increased government funding today (22 March 2019) – totalling £24m over 3 years – to help even more victims.

The move, which involves a 10 per cent increase in funding by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), will see 79 rape support centres awarded grants – more than ever before. This will ensure, for the first time, that there are government-funded services in all 42 of the country’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) areas.

This will include a 50 per cent funding increase for services across Greater London – recognising the heightened demand for services in the region – with almost 15 per cent of all sexual offences occurring across the capital last year.

Nationally over 150,000 sexual offences were recorded by police last year, with 1 in 5 women having experienced some type of sexual assault in their lifetime. This is despite the crimes often going unreported.

The money will go towards a range of services, such as tailored face-to-face support and counselling to help victims cope with and, as far as possible, recover from these horrific crimes.

Among the services receiving a funding boost are a national helpline and webchat service for male victims following a significant rise in the number of men and boys coming forward to report crimes and access support.

The extra money will also see the number of PCC areas with government-funded male support centres nearly quadruple from 11 to 41.

Funding has also been extended to include those who suffered abuse while under the age of 13, in recognition that many victims of child sexual abuse may struggle to access timely support.

Victims Minister Edward Argar, said:

“Victims of rape and sexual violence show immense courage in coming forward – and they must have confidence that the right support will be there when it is needed.

“Today we are providing funding across more regions than ever, supporting more centres than ever, increasing the overall amount of funding and moving to a three-year funding cycle. We are determined to continue to improve access to these vital services for victims to help them rebuild their lives after these devastating crimes.”

Victims’ Commissioner, Baroness Newlove, said:

“Rape is a horrific crime and has devastating and often, lifelong consequences for its victims. It is important that all victims have access to the support and therapy they need to help them recover. This increase in funding is a step in the right direction in making sure there is sufficient provision to support these victims.

“I am pleased that for the first time, there will be, centrally funded rape support services in all parts of England and Wales. I am particularly pleased to see there will be a significant increase in male support centres.

“As Victims Commissioner, I have been calling for three-year funding packages for frontline victim services. So, it is a positive development that the government will be offering rape support service providers a 3-year funding agreement. It offers providers and their staff greater security, enabling them to focus their energies on supporting victims as opposed to worrying about future funding. I hope it will not be long before this is extended to all victim services.”

Duncan Craig, CEO of Survivors Manchester and Co-Founder of Male Survivors Partnership, and survivors of childhood sexual abuse:

“In this, our 10th Birthday year, we’re delighted to receive this grant. In 10 years, we’ve supported 2,500 male survivors but the past year’s shown a huge increase in requests for help with 2 new referrals coming in every single day.

“This grant will not only allow us to provide three therapists and an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor to help meet this unprecedented demand, but also contribute significantly towards our new support centre and enable us to promote our Male Service Standard Quality Assured services to the widest possible communities across Greater Manchester, helping the diverse male population we have here.”

Successful organisations passed through a comprehensive bidding process, where applicants evidenced their ability to provide high-quality, victim-focussed support. As well as funding services in all PCC areas, we have better matched funding to levels of local demand, which has increased in recent years as more victims come forward to access support.

This funding is now guaranteed over three years compared to 12 months previously – providing organisations with greater stability and security to ensure they can focus on delivering their essential services. It is part of £96 million MOJ is providing to victim and witness support services this year, which has doubled since 2012/13.

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