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Government recognises needs of sexual violence and abuse survivors during lockdown

23 Apr 2020

After engagement with Rape Crisis England & Wales (RCEW) and other specialist sexual violence and abuse stakeholders, the Government today (23rd April 2020) launched specific support pages aimed at victims and survivors of these crimes impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and infection control measures.

RCEW had been concerned about the lack of visibility and consideration of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, rape and sexual violence since the start of the current lockdown.

While RCEW and its member Rape Crisis Centres continue to provide specialist services to people impacted by all forms of sexual violence and abuse via telephone, email, text (SMS) and online, all staff and volunteers within the movement were keen for the needs and rights of this group to have more profile and representation at a Government level.

At the same time as making these pages live, the Ministry of Justice also announced £600,000 of funding for Rape Crisis England & Wales and a number of other national sexual violence and abuse support charities, to increase their capacity to provide specialist online services.

RCEW has been awarded £48,000 of this total, which it will use to provide secure online counselling rooms to its member Rape Crisis Centres, and specialist training in providing online services.

Katie Russell, national spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales said:

“Rape Crisis England & Wales is pleased to have been granted this funding to support our members to keep providing their specialist services online.

We’ve been extremely proud of the lengths Rape Crisis Centres, their staff and volunteers have gone to to transition swiftly and safely to remote working so they can continue to be there for people in need. Many victims and survivors are telling us what an especially difficult time this is for them, feeling ‘trapped’ and isolated as they process trauma and try to look after their mental health.

This is why being able to offer specialist Rape Crisis counselling and support through secure online counselling rooms, and providing free training to Rape Crisis staff and volunteers to improve their confidence and skills in online working, is so valuable at the moment.”

Read the support pages for victims of sexual violence and abuse