Responding to today’s (18 September) announcement
by the Ministry of Justice of £5 million in additional funding to support services for victims of rape and sexual assault, EVAW said:
“This announcement acknowledges there is a desperate need for more funding to go towards supporting victims of sexual violence, however the uplift in this year’s spending plans is still a long way from being enough to meet the huge and increasing demand for rape counselling and support across the country.
“Years of underfunding and austerity cuts for life-saving women’s services need to be reversed, and ring-fenced support must be made available for specialist BME women’s services which have been acutely affected.
“Whilst we welcome more funding targeted specifically at the recruitment of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs), we fail to see how the extra £1 million promised today will ensure that every person reporting they have been raped to the police can be guaranteed ISVA support will be available to them, when the numbers of women reporting is rising every year – to almost 60,000 in 18/19.
“We need a fundamental change in the way specialist sexual abuse services are funded so that they are sustainable and no survivor who needs help is ever turned away.
“In addition, the Government has announced plans to consult on a new Victims’ Law and a revised Victims’ Code which will be published in early 2020. Accelerating plans which will give victims legally enforceable rights and place duties on agencies to comply are long overdue and must be delivered if the government are serious about restoring faith in the justice system.”