More Help Given To Victims Of Sexual Violence

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

More funding to help improve the emergency centres that help victims of sexual assault, was announced by UK Health Minister Ann Keen today.

The National Support Team on Response to Sexual Violence will receive a £1.4 million funding boost to improve Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) across England that provide support for the victims of sexual violence.

SARCs offer victims of sexual offences an integrated service where they can receive medical care, psychological counselling, legal advice and support confidentially and in one place.The Department will also be funding the start-up costs of a new Diploma to improve clinical standards in this area.

The Home Office strategy 'Together we can end violence against women and girls' was also launched today. This cross-Government, public consultation aims to raise awareness, discussion and debate on how society can end violence against women and girls, and overcome its debilitating impact on individuals, families and communities.

Visiting Whitechapel Haven, a SARC in North London the Ann Keen said: "I have the greatest admiration for the work that is going on in Sexual Assault Referral Centres throughout the country like the one I'm visiting today in Whitechapel. It is very important that victims should receive the help and support they need quickly in order to overcome the physical and mental impact of being a victim of this kind of crime - no matter where they live.


"I am determined that we are able to deliver the best service possible for all those who have been assaulted, whatever their age, gender or social circumstance. I look forward to contributing to the Home Office debate on Violence against women since there is much that we can do in the NHS and social care to prevent violence form occurring in the first place and to help bring offenders to justice."

Funding and support will be provided in the following areas:

* £1.4m funding for Sexual Assault Referral Centres - National Support Teams will work with local areas to bring together experts from the health service, forensics services, the Crown Prosecution Service and the police to advise on meeting local needs. The team will be extended to include an expert in voluntary sector funding to advise local organisations working in this field how to work effectively with local providers and commissioners;

* £75k to launch the Diploma in Forensic and Clinical Aspects of Sexual Assault - This money will provide the start-up costs of a new Diploma for forensic physicians in this area. This will be open to doctors and nurses. Until now there has been no standard training in this area and this will help raise the standard of care provided by doctors in this area and bring about consistency in skills and competencies.

Dr Guy Norfolk, President of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians in London, said:

"I am delighted that the Government has agreed to fund the start-up costs of the Diploma in Forensic and Clinical Aspects of Sexual Assault. This will support the work the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine (FFLM) is progressing to ensure that all doctors who carry out sexual offences examinations have the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes. The Diploma will be a great step forward in standardising the care that adults and children receive when they are at their most vulnerable, when they have been victims of sexual assault.

"I am pleased that the government has also funded the National Support Team for the Response to Sexual Violence for the next two years to help develop the commissioning process and improve the specialist skills of medical professionals in this field alongside the FFLM. The National Support Team has already shown that it can provide a real impetus in areas establishing Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs). These Centres provide a 'one stop' location where victims of sexual assault can receive medical care and counselling whilst at the same time having the opportunity to assist the police investigation into alleged offences, including the facilities for a high standard of forensic examination. These developments will form a key contribution to the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy which the Government is launching today."



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