Home Office unveils £3.2m fund to help sexual assault victims

    The Home Office has announced a £3.2m fund to expand provision of sexual assault referral centres and support cash-strapped rape crisis centres across England and Wales.

    It said today £1.6m would be used to bolster 39 rape crisis charities, many of which were facing closure due to lack of funds, and The Survivors’ Trust, which provides therapeutic services for abuse victims. 

    Rape Crisis says 19 centres will be able to continue providing services

    A spokesperson for umbrella body Rape Crisis England and Wales said: “We are relieved that 19 rape crisis centres who were struggling for survival will be able to carry on providing their vital services until the end of this financial year.

    “We are pleased to have been informed that discussions regarding long-term sustainability are in progress with a number of government departments.”

    The Home Office said a further £1.67m would be used to set up eight new sexual assault referral centres and support 15 existing centres, which offer integrated support to abuse survivors, including counselling, legal and medical advice.

    Advisers to help survivors access support

    In addition the money will be used to fund 43 independent sexual violence advisers, whose role will be to help survivors access services and support.

    There are currently 28 referral centres in England and Wales and the Home Office is committed to setting up a centre in each police force area by 2011, bringing the total up to at least 43.

    Maria Eagle, deputy minister for women and equality, said: “This fund is vital to safeguard local organisations which support those who have been victims of rape and sexual violence.”

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