Sexual Offences

Home Office written question – answered on 26th January 2021.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Shadow Minister (Home Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a requirement for statutory agencies to refer women who disclose (a) historical and (b) ongoing sexual exploitation to specialist sexual exploitation services.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Government is committed to tackling all forms of sexual violence and exploitation, ensuring that victims are provided with the support they need to begin rebuilding their lives and that those responsible are prosecuted.

We are committed to ensuring that victims of these crimes have access to high-quality support services to help them cope with and, as far as possible, recover from the effects of crime. The right to access these services is set out in the recently revised Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.

The recently revised Victims’ Code, which comes into force on 1 April 2021, will ensure that victims benefit from a clearer set of rights and that these rights are recognised at every stage of the justice system. The revised Victims’ Code provides a solid foundation on which we can progress the Victims’ Law. The Ministry of Justice aims to consult on the full details of the Victims’ Law later this year.

Potential victims of sexual exploitation have access to specialist support and advocacy services to assist them in rebuilding their lives and reintegrating into local communities. The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the process by which the UK identifies and supports potential victims of modern slavery including sexual exploitation by connecting them with appropriate support, which may be delivered through the specialist Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract (MSVCC), local authorities and asylum services.

The introduction of the new MSVCC, which went live on the 4 January 2021, has brought about a number of new services and greater prescription to existing services to better meet the needs of each victim, including those with specialist or complex needs. The MSVCC will continue to provide accommodation, financial support payments, translation and interpretation, transport and access to an outreach support worker for those who are identified as a potential victim and receive a positive Reasonable Grounds decision from the Single Competent Authority.

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