Rape Crisis welcomes Government's refreshed Violence Against Women & Girls Strategy

9 Mar 2016

Responding to the Government's announcement of its new Violence Against Women & Girls Strategy 2016 - 2020, Rape Crisis England & Wales said: 

“We welcome the Government’s new Violence Against Women & Girls Strategy and the renewed commitment to addressing this broad range of urgent issues that its publication represents. 

Need and demand for Rape Crisis services are at all-time high and show no signs of levelling out.  As half of the women and girls who access our specialist counselling, advocacy, helplines and other support are adult survivors of child sexual abuse, it is highly likely this need and demand will continue to rise while the current Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is ongoing. 

This is why we welcome the Government’s recognition that adult survivors of child sexual abuse face multiple forms of disadvantage, and its pledge to ensure some funding for specialist Rape Crisis services through to March 2020. 

This is also why we hope some of the £80 million total announced to tackle violence against women and girls will be put towards supporting Rape Crisis centres not just to survive but to grow in order to meet the increased need from survivors.

At the same time, we hope the Government’s acknowledgment of the multiple discrimination and disadvantage faced by black and minority ethnic women and girls and others translates into investment to safeguard the future of these specialist services.

Strokes and diabetes in women are rightly national health priorities.  When we know that more women are raped each year in England and Wales than have strokes - and more women and girls are living with the long-term impacts of child sexual abuse, rape and other forms of sexual violence than are managing diabetes – we believe that violence against women and girls should be treated just as seriously. 

This is why we welcome the Strategy’s commitment to work with local authorities, the NHS and Police & Crime Commissioners to ensure a secure future for specialist services including Rape Crisis centres.

Action to ensure every woman and girl who have experienced violence can access the specialist support she wants and deserves, and to work towards the elimination of violence against women and girls, can never come a moment too soon; the time is now.”