Sarah Champion MP welcomes Government announcement on funding for rape and sexual abuse victims

Sarah Champion MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on Sexual Violence, today welcomed the Government’s announcement of an additional 10% funding for specialist rape and sexual abuse support services over a three-year funding cycle. The Ministry of Justice also announced a pilot of devolved commissioning to five Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).

 

Sarah Champion has been campaigning for additional investment for victims. The funding will provide advice, support and counselling to victims whether or not they choose to go through the criminal justice system.

 

Research from Bristol University has found that women who are supported by an Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (ISVA), usually via specialist rape and sexual violence services, throughout the criminal justice process are twice as likely to get a charge, twice as likely to get to trial and twice as likely to get a conviction.

 

Commenting on the additional funding, Sarah Champion said:

 

‘It is positive to see the Ministry of Justice recognising the need for additional funding for specialist sexual violence services. Vital services like Rape Crisis already have waiting lists in the thousands so while the extra money is welcome, the Government needs to be investing more to keep up with the ever increasing demand.

 

The evidence clearly shows that victims supported by ISVAs get better criminal justice outcomes - the likelihood of getting a rape conviction is doubled.’

 

As part of the announced changes the Ministry of Justice announced funding for rape support services on a three-year basis, something that will provide additional security.

 

Sarah Champion commented:

 

‘Three-year funding provides more security to those delivering services. It allows staff to get on with the job without the constant threat of redundancy notices as they wait for next year’s funding announcement. Three-year funding should be the standard for the every round of the Rape Support Fund.’

 

On the pilot devolving commissioning to five regions, Sarah said:

 

‘I welcome the proposed pilot to devolve commissioning to five PCCs. The trials should include the publication of a Victim’s Offer so that local people are clear about where they can access local services if they become a victim of crime. The Victim’s Commissioner should be given an independent mandate to develop minimum standards so that local and national government can be held to account.’ 

Jim Pomeroy