Legal Aid Scheme: Offences against Children

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 8th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Browne of Belmont Lord Browne of Belmont DUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government under what circumstances in cases involving historical abuse victims are entitled to legal representation.

Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice)

The Government’s first ever cross-government Victims Strategy outlines our commitments to victims of crime.

The Crown Prosecution Service is responsible for the prosecution of criminal cases. Victims of crime are not separately represented in criminal trials.

Victims of historic sexual abuse have access to an independent sexual violence adviser (ISVA). The ISVA’s role is to ensure the victim receives the right support before, during and after legal proceedings. As part of proceedings, a victim may be called to give evidence as a witness for the prosecution. ISVAs will work alongside the Court-Based Witness Service to support the victim to give their best evidence and participate in the court process.

In April this year, the Ministry of Justice awarded £8m in funding to rape support centres to provide emotional and practical support to victims of sexual violence and historic sexual abuse, including the provision of ISVA services. We also provided a grant of £11.2m to Citizens Advice for the delivery of the Court-Based Witness Service.

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