Crime: Rape

House of Lords written question – answered on 12th November 2010.

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Photo of Baroness Tonge Baroness Tonge Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that women and girls raped in conflict are ensured full, non-discriminatory medical care, including abortions.

Photo of Baroness Verma Baroness Verma Lords Spokesperson (Home Office) (Equalities and Women's Issues), Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Department for International Development)

The Department for International Development (DfID) directly supports the provision of non-discriminatory medical care to victims of rape in a range of countries, including those affected by conflict. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, the UK has made contributions totalling around £1 million to the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, which has a specialist unit to provide care for the victims of acts of sexual violence. In Sierra Leone, DfID funds referral centres that support large numbers of women-including girls under 15-who have been victims of sexual assault.

The UK Government do not promote abortion as a method of family planning, but we are committed to reducing maternal mortality in the developing world and one of the leading causes of maternal death is unsafe abortion. The World Health Organisation estimates that nearly 70,000 women die each year following unsafe abortion and we are committed to bringing this number down, including in situations of armed conflict.

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