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.