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Sexual Offences: Victim Support Schemes

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to decrease victim attrition rates in criminal cases of sexual assault and rape.

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

The Government is committed to tackling the unacceptably high victim attrition rates in sexual violence cases. We know that access to counselling and therapeutic support when and where victims most need it increases victim engagement. That is why in March this year we increased funding available to these essential services by 10% - up to £8m per year and totalling £24m over the next three years. This funding ensures that, for the first time, that there are government-funded services in all 42 of the country’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) areas and by extending it from one to three years, it provides greater security and sustainability for the sector to deliver their essential services. This is in addition to the £68m we allocate to PCC’s to locally deliver support services for victims of crime, including for victims of sexual violence, as they are best placed to respond to local needs.

Moreover, in the cross-government Victims Strategy, which we published on 10 September 2018, we made a commitment to improve support for all victims of crime, including by increasing the number of Registered Intermediaries, communication experts helping vulnerable victims and witnesses give their best evidence at police interview and at court.

The Government also recognises the importance of understanding the decline in the number of rape and serious sexual offences reaching court and being charged. It is vital we grasp this issue, which is the Criminal Justice Board (CJB) has committed to a cross-government end-to-end review of response to serious sexual violence and adult rape. We have established a Sub-Group of the CJB to oversee this review and a stakeholder group made up of victim organisations to ensure the inclusion of the victim experience.

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