Parliamentary report finds sexual violence and abuse victims are kept on waiting lists as Government fails to fund Specialist Support Services

Parliamentary report finds sexual violence and abuse victims are kept on waiting lists as Government fails to fund Specialist Support Services

 

Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Sexual Violence, launched the group’s report into the ‘Funding and Commissioning of Sexual Violence and Abuse Services’ on Wednesday 12th December 2018.  The report finds that sexual violence and abuse victims wait up to 14 months to access valued counselling at Rape Crisis centres, and the sector is struggling to keep up with demand.

 

The report outlined that services are facing serious challenges to maintain sustainability. Demand for Rape Crisis support has risen 17% on last year, but funding has not increased accordingly. The report finds that services are highly valued by users, but goes on to describe a chaotic funding landscape they are forced to operate in.

 

The report recommended a statutory right of access to specialist services for survivors; long-term sustainable funding for those services; the introduction of minimum levels of specialist services per head of the population and a Victim’s offer that outlines the available services in each region.

 

Sarah Champion commented:

 

“In its 2016 strategy ‘Ending Violence Against Women and Girls,’ the Government committed that by 2020, ‘no victims would be turned away.’ On current form, this is not achievable. For the Government’s strategy to mean anything more than just mere words on a page, it has to prioritise funding for sexual abuse and violence services.

 

The Government should be judged on how it supports vulnerable victims of the most horrible crimes – and they are failing.

 

Right now, victims and survivors are waiting for support. They’re waiting for a helping hand. Procrastination and delay isn’t good enough – we need substantial investment now.”

 

Diane Whitfield, Co-Chair of Rape Crisis said:

 

“It was evident from the APPG on Sexual Violence sessions that Rape Crisis member groups are struggling with the complex, convoluted and diminishing funding and commissioning landscape, as reflected in the report. This report will be an extremely useful resource for all 44 member centres to use locally and for Rape Crisis nationally in the continuing dialogue in search of sustainable funding models for much needed specialist services facing unprecedented demand. We sincerely hope that the recommendations in this report are acted upon and do not adhere to the pattern of other recommendations over the years which have been followed by inaction and an absence of acknowledgement of the urgent need to resolve this ongoing and worsening problem.”

 

The report can be accessed here: https://rapecrisis.org.uk/news/latest-news/parliamentary-report-reveals-sexual-violence-and-abuse-victims-and-survivors-kept-on-waiting-lists-as-government-fails-to-properly-fund-specialist-support-services/

Jim Pomeroy