Sexual Offences: Victim Support Schemes

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 22 July 2019.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Labour, Slough

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment has he made of the adequacy of (a) funding for and (b) access to specialised services for (i) people and (ii) BAME people experiencing sexual violence.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Ministry of Justice provides funding to specialist sexual violence services to support victims to cope and, where possible, recover from the impact of crime. We awarded increased funding to services in April this year and made a commitment of £24m over three years. This funding is reaching 96 rape support centres across England and Wales, ensuring specialist provision in each of the country’s 42 Police and Crime Commissioner areas.

We provide £306,849 funding for helplines and online services to ensure that all victims, regardless of location, can access support.

Services in receipt of Ministry of Justice grant funding are expected to understand and respond to the specific needs of victims in their area. This includes the provision of services tailored to victims that may face additional barriers, such as BAME groups, to accessing support.

Victims may also access Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs). There are 47 SARCs in England who carry out forensic medical examinations and offer counselling services. NHS England Investment in SARCs will increase to £35m by 2020. Victims may also access NHS mental health services.

We are exploring ways to improve support for BAME victims as part of our work to tackle racial disparity in the Criminal Justice System.

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