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Essex rape and sexual violence support centres to get £27k annual boost

PUBLISHED: 17:28 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 08 November 2018

Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst  Picture ARCHANT

Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst Picture ARCHANT

Archant

Essex has become one of five pilot areas to be given greater control over funding for sexual violence services.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, will be given freedom to commission practical and emotional services for victims of rape and sexual abuse, under Ministry of Justice plans.

Essex joins Nottinghamshire, Greater London, Cambridgeshire and Hampshire as test sites.

The move has been heralded as allowing support centres to benefit from greater financial security and stability, with Essex rape and sexual abuse services receiving a 10% annual funding increase to £269,500, as part of an £800,000 national cash injection.

The additional funding will go towards advice, support and counselling to help victims in Essex, where more than 3,700 sex offences were recorded last year.

Mr Hirst said: “Providing specialist support for people affected by sexual violence and abuse is a vital part of helping them cope and recover from their experience, and is a priority within my Police and Crime Plan.

“Commissioning services at a local level with our partners, and based on local knowledge, helps those in need of support receive a more effective and consistent service.

“In my Police and Crime Plan, I have committed to putting victims at the heart of what we do, and commissioning services based on regular feedback. This helps deliver against that promise by providing local services based on known local needs.”

In 2018/19 the Ministry of Justice allocated £7.2m towards independent, specialist support for sexual violence victims, including victims of child sexual abuse. The figure will increase to £8m for each of the next three years and is part of £96m worth of funding for victim services.

Justice Minister Edward Argar said: “Rape and sexual abuse are devastating crimes, so I am encouraged that more victims are coming forward to receive support.

“Understanding local need is crucial in making sure victims can access the right services at the right time, which is why we’re committed to giving police and crime commissioners more power to make decisions for their areas.

“By providing additional funding, we are ensuring that victims can access vital practical and emotional support, so that fewer are left to suffer in silence.”

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