Support bodies team up to advise on preventing sexual violence

Three umbrella bodies have teamed up to produce a briefing giving practical advice to infrastructure organisations on how to ensure sexual violence is on the agenda of local government.

Rape Crisis England and Wales, the umbrella body for rape crisis groups, the Women’s Resource Centre, which supports women’s groups, and local infrastructure organisation Navca have produced the guide ahead of the renegotiation of Local Area Agreements for the period between 2008 and 2011.

Up to 30 rape crisis groups have been forced to close since 1984. Up to half of the remaining 38 could shut in the near future unless local partnerships help to fund them, according to Rape Crisis.

“The postcode lottery of rape crisis support services across the UK means that there are huge areas of the country where sexual violence is not included or addressed on local agendas,” said Angie Conroy, the charity’s national policy officer. “The support of other local infrastructure groups in raising these issues should help to address these geographical gaps and ensure that victims receive appropriate support.”

Kevin Curley, chief executive of Navca, said local organisations could make use of new public service agreements and national indicators announced by the Government last month that for the first time include targets on reducing sexual violence.

“The dire funding situation for rape crisis centres arose from there being no local targets for sexual violence,” said Curley. “The new PSAs and indicators provide the best opportunity yet to get sexual violence priorities in to LAAs.”

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