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Review of rape victims' experiences welcomed

Review of rape victims' experiences welcomed

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 25 November 2009

A review of rape victims' experience of the criminal justice system, published today, has been welcomed by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

All the immediate recommendations from the review, led by the Victims' Champion Sara Payne, have been considered by the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy published yesterday, including:

* A national communications strategy to challenge attitudes towards violence against women, including rape and other forms of sexual violence;

* The inclusion of gender equality and violence against women in the school curriculum for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) lessons; and

* A further £3.2 million of funding to help establish more Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs).

In addition, work will continue on wider challenges that have been identified by the review.

Today's publication will feed into a wider review of how rape complaints are handled, being carried out by Baroness Stern. It will look at how public authorities, including the police, local authorities, health providers and the CPS, respond to rape complaints and interact with each other. Its findings will be published in the New Year.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said:

"Rape is an appalling crime which has an horrendous impact on victims. The conviction rate for cases prosecuted is the highest for ten years; the average sentence for rape is increasing, and reporting of rape has doubled since 1997, but clearly more needs to be done.

"I welcome this review and its important contribution to our efforts to help bring more perpetrators of sexual violence to justice and ensure all victims of rape get the support and service they need.

"Our Violence Against Women and Girls strategy shows action is already planned in the areas Sara identifies, including the need for every police force to be consistent in its approach."

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. Sara Payne's Victim Experience Review can be found at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/vawg-rape-review/

2. Across the country, there are now 29 Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and 43 Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) who offer practical support for victims of sexual violence.

3. Around £12 million has been invested in services for rape victims over the last five years, including to organisations offering specialist support, such as rape crisis centres.

4. For more information call the Home Office press office on 020 7035 3535.

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Contacts:

Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535
NDS.HO@coi.gsi.gov.uk

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