More support promised for victims of sexual violence

Victims of sexual violence including abused children are to get better support, the government said today.

It published a new action plan on sexual violence and abuse that co-ordinates existing work across six government departments including:

· developing national  guidelines on responding to the needs of child victims of sexual abuse, adult survivors of child sexual abuse and adult victims of recent sexual violence, through the victims of violence and abuse prevention programme

· expanding the network of sexual assault referral centres which provide counselling, medical care, and forensic examination

· implementing the vetting and barring scheme for people who work with children.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said: “The government has a crucial role in protecting those at risk of sexual violence and child sexual abuse, looking after the victims of these terrible and damaging crimes and of course dealing with those who commit them. This plan co-ordinates everything we are doing across government to ensure that victims get the support they need and the justice they deserve. “

Dr Nicole Westmarland, chair of Rape Crisis (England and Wales), said: “We are pleased that there is going to be more support for survivors of rape and other sexual offences and that government is taking a more joined-up approach to tackling these crimes. Every day we receive hundreds of calls to our rape crisis centres up and down the country and we are glad that the action plan deals with access to support but also emphasises the need for effective prosecution and prevention.”

The government departments who have contributed to the plan are: the Home Office, Department of Health, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Crown Prosecution Service, Department for Education and Skills and  Department for Communities and Local Government.

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