Racial Discrimination and Sexual Offences: Females

Home Office written question – answered on 29th 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 financial support her Department provides to specialist services for women who experience racism and who have survived sexual exploitation.

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

All forms of sexual violence are terrible crimes and the Government continues to fund support to victims.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we allocated £76m to support victims of modern slavery, domestic abuse and sexual violence. This included a £25m package to support victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, £10m of which was ringfenced for organisations supporting victims of sexual violence. The Ministry of Justice have also recently announced that £10.1m will be provided to rape and domestic abuse support centres and Police and Crime Commissioners to fund services in local areas. The Home Office is also providing £200,000 in 2020/21 to specialist sexual violence support services through its National Sexual Violence Support Fund.

In addition, the Ministry of Justice has awarded £12 million to 91 rape support centres across England and Wales to provide independent, specialist support to female and male victims of sexual violence, including victims of child sexual abuse. This is an increase of £4 million from 2019/20, and a total investment of £32m over three years from April 2019 to March 2022.

An additional £4m per annum until 2022 is also being invested in recruiting more Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) to help victims feel informed and supported at every stage of their recovery journey.

We understand that individuals can be the victims of multiple and different abusive behaviours because of the way different characteristics, including immigration status, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic position and sexuality intersect and overlap, particularly in relation to accessing services and support. We will be publishing a new Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy in the spring which will ensure we can better support victims. To inform the new strategy, we launched a Call for Evidence on 10 December, inviting responses from the public, organisations that provide support to victims and survivors, frontline professionals, and academics. We are actively seeking input from minority groups and intend to hold focus groups to ensure we hear the perspectives of people with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, refugee violence against women and girls experts, deaf and disabled violence against women and girls experts, and others.

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