Mayor invests £4 million to help tackle sexual violence
• Victims to be 'at the heart' of new crime strategy
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced an investment of more than £4 million to help tackle sexual abuse in London, meeting a manifesto commitment to improve support for victims.
The funding – for services already supporting abuse victims - was confirmed as a study carried out by City Hall and NHS England revealed that the needs of survivors across the capital are going unmet. Sadiq Khan said his new Police and Crime Plan, to be published shortly, would put victims and their needs ‘at the heart’ of his strategy.
The Mayor’s Deputy for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, discussed the study – as well as how best to protect those most at risk from sexual abuse – at a high-level meeting at City Hall today (Monday). The meeting also discussed the findings of last week’s HMIC report which exposed serious failings in the way the Met protected children. Those attending included theNational Probation Service, Women and Girls Network, Crown Prosecution Service, Survivors Trust and London Rehabilitation Company.
Each year around 24,000 adults in London experience serious sexual assault or rape. Whilst reporting has increased, support for survivors through the criminal justice process is patchy across the city. The City Hall and NHS England study into sexual violence and child sexual exploitation, published today, found inconsistent access to legal and mental health services, limited funding for prevention work, and a lack of a strategic, joined-up approach to meet the specific needs and demands of the capital.
To address these gaps, the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) is working with NHS England to develop a new model for sexual abuse services in London, in partnership with existing providers. The Mayor has extended funding for three London Sexual Assault Referral Centres (Havens) and four London Rape Crisis Centres for an additional year until March 2018, during which time MOPAC will work with them on redesigning services so they better meet the demands and needs of survivors.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Victims of sexual abuse or exploitation have already suffered unimaginable distress at the hands of their perpetrators, and it’s crucial the support they receive as they begin their recovery is streamlined, easily accessible, and tailored to their needs.
"As I finalise my Police and Crime Plan for the capital, I am putting victims at the heart of my strategy, as well as setting up a new scrutiny group to ensure that improvements are made to safeguard our capital’s vulnerable young people. By developing existing services, we can build on the work already being done to prevent sexual abuse from happening, and offer victims in all areas of the capital enhanced, tailored support.”
In a victim-centred approach, the new model will streamline and simplify survivors’ journeys through the criminal justice system. Adopting a joined-up way of working across agencies and boroughs, it will plug gaps in the capital’s current provisions, including enhanced services for young victims, improved access to individual support, and an increased focus on addressing the root causes that make victims vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Hong Tan, Head of Health in the Justice System, NHS England (London) said:“It’s vital that both adult and child victims of sexual assault have timely access to the right care and support to help them recover from such a life-changing trauma. We strongly believe that services need to work closely together, tailoring support to individuals to achieve the best outcome possible for each and every survivor.”
The new integrated service model will be in place by March 2018.
Notes to editors
1. The report ‘Sexual Violence against Children and Adults in London’ from MOPAC and NHS England can be read here:https://www.london.gov.uk/mopac-publications/london-sexual-violence-need...
2. MOPAC is providing £1,260,000 for the four Rape Crisis Centres in London and £2,165,000 for the three London Sexual Assault Referral Centres. In addition a £100,000 development budget is being provided to the four London Rape Crisis Centres, and £70,000 to support the extension of an interpreter service for another year. The MOPAC decision can be read here:https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/mayors-office-policing-and-crime-mo...
3. In response to the recent HMIC report on child protection, the Mayor announced he is setting up a new independent group of child protection experts and academics to drive the oversight and change necessary to ensure that vulnerable young children in London are effectively safeguarded.