Rape and sexual abuse centre to open in Grantham

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A rape support centre will open in Grantham for victims of rape and sexual abuse.

The new centres will offer victims access to expert advice, support and counselling as well as practical help throughout the criminal justice system.

It will be funded with around £300,000 a year to offer much-needed specialist services to hundreds of victims of sexual crime in areas where previously none existed.

Staff will work with female victims who have experienced rape or sexual violence at any point in their lives. In addition to face to face counselling, there will also be support groups, female-only safe spaces and even access to counsellors through Skype.

Fay Maxted, of The Survivors Trust, said: “We are delighted that funding has been awarded to establish a new rape support centre in Grantham. At the moment Grantham and the surrounding area does not have a specialist rape support centre, meaning that traumatised and vulnerable individuals who desperately need access to support can face long journeys, long waiting lists or may not be able to find support at all.”

The news came as an announcement made today (Monday) by the Minister for Women Nicky Morgan and Victims Minister Mike Penning, who also revealed plans for a similar centre in Crawley, West Sussex.

Ms Morgan said: “I want women to know that if they ever suffer the horrific ordeal of rape or sexual assault that they will be offered all of the expert advice and support they need to rebuild their lives and put the perpetrator behind bars.

“This government committed to open 15 new support centres across the country and I am proud to say that this announcement today means we have delivered on our promise.”

Further centres are located in Reading, Avon and Somerset, Preston, Lincoln, Trafford, Northumbria, Leeds, Southend, Ipswich, Aberystwyth, Hereford, Exeter and Poole.

Funding is part of the government’s Violence Against Women and Girls Action Plan, which set out plans to increase police referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service. Thanks to the work of the police in conjunction with government, progress is being made with the volume of convictions for sexual offences excluding rape now at the highest level ever.

Action has also been taken to protect more victims through national roll-out of the domestic violence disclosure scheme, known as ‘Clare’s Law’, and nearly £40 million of funding for specialist local support services and national helplines has been ring-fenced, including more than 80 independent sexual violence advisers.

Mr Penning said: “Women who experience these devastating crimes deserve the best chance to get the help they need, and ultimately justice.

“These new centres will give more victims of rape or sexual abuse the expert help they need to recover from what is truly a horrendous experience. Victims need the best support to get their lives back on track which is why these centres are so important.”