This will sit alongside £4.4 million dedicated to provide 78 female rape support centres across England and Wales with financial support through to 2016 so they can offer specialist services for victims such as counselling, advice and helplines. The Ministry of Justice will also be establishing two new rape support centres in the coming year, on top of the 13 set up since 2010, meeting the Coalition commitment to open 15 new centres.
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will then be able to bid for a share of £12 million, on top of their budgets for 2014/15, to commission further specialist services for victims of the most serious crimes, such as domestic violence and sexual violence, and support for the most vulnerable victims in our society, based on local need. The fund will open for bids shortly, with PCCs given the funding as soon as possible.
Visiting Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds (SARSVL), Victims’ Minister Damian Green said:
Victims need specialist services to help them move on, and where possible, recover from their experiences. It is vital in getting people to come forward and report serious crimes, such as rape, that there is a strong support structure in place. That’s why we’ve committed £16 million of extra funding to support these victims over the next year.
It is crucial we don’t leave victims to suffer in silence. That’s why the Government is opening a further two dedicated centres for rape victims and giving PCCs more money to commission specialist services in their area.
The £4.4 million funding will be dedicated for female rape and sexual violence support and puts centres on a secure financial footing. It follows on from the Government’s recent announcement to provide £500,000 for the first time to help male victims of rape and sexual violence. This was in addition to £1.5 million to support victims of domestic and sexual violence, which includes voluntary sector training and additional funding for PCCs to commission services locally.
Since the 2010 Coalition Agreement new centres have been established in Northumbria, Leeds, Southend, Suffolk, Mid-Wales, Hereford, Devon, Dorset, Trafford, Reading, Avon and Somerset, Lincolnshire and Central Lancashire. The Department will work closely with PCCs and the sector to decide the location of the two new centres depending on local need.