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Help for victims of sexual assault

15 April 2009

The government has announced an additional £1.8m to provide more help and support for victims of sexual assault and rape .

The money will be used to set up more sexual assault referral centres, and to provide independent help from specially trained counsellors.

Sexual assault referral centres play a vital role in providing care and support for victims, while also giving investigators the best chance to build a successful case. They provide victims with immediate medical help, counselling, forensic examinations and the opportunity to give evidence anonymously, all in one location.

The new funding will help the government develop new centres and improve exisiting centres. It is part of our commitment to have a SARC in every police force area by 2011.

More help on the way

The government has also announced additional help for police and prosecutors investigating rape cases, to ensure that crimes are solved and attackers are punished.

Also announced this week were plans to:

  • make sure victims meet with a specially trained officer within an hour of reporting the crime
  • provide training for police officers on what do when a rape is first reported
  • provide regular monitoring and assessment of police and the Crown Prosecution Service’s handling of rape cases by a Rape Performance Group

Complex crimes to solve     

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker called sexual assault cases 'uniquely difficult crimes to investigate.'

He said, 'Every force has a responsibility to ensure that officers who come into contact with a rape victim are trained to support that victim.

‘It is essential that every victim has immediate access to the services and support they need to come forward and report these crimes, and bring the perpetrators to justice.  
'I urge areas to apply for part of the new funding of up to £1.8m, so that we can work towards our target of having a SARC in every area.’

Together we can

The consultation The Together We Can End Violence Against Women And Girls sets out the action the Government has taken to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls. It looks at what more can be done to challenge the attitudes that uphold it in order to help women and girls feel safer. Join the debate to end violence against women.

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