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Wendy Morton MP: Why we're upping funding for rape support services

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Justice minister and Aldridge-Brownhills MP Wendy Morton says the Government is determined to support rape victims.

Rape is without doubt one of the most hideous crimes that can be committed against a person, writes Wendy Morton MP.

In the West Midlands 7,700 instances of rape or sexual assault were reported to the police last year.

Estimates suggest that many more instances go unreported – likely because of the stigma and victim shaming that still exists in our society today.

Behind the statistics there are real victims.

Women and men trying to move forward with their lives in the face of unimaginable trauma.

Rape support services work to ensure that victims get the care they need but, like any organisation, they require resources to continue their vital work.

In September last year the Government committed to increase support for victims of rape and sexual abuse.

As a local MP and a justice minister, I am delighted that we are delivering on that pledge by increasing funding for rape support services across the country.

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In England and Wales 76 organisations that support victims of rape and sexual abuse will see increases in funding totalling £32 million over three years and £1.2m of that will go to local organisations right here in the West Midlands.

Birmingham Rape and Sexual Violence Project, Coventry Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre, Freedom from Torture, and Black Country Women’s Aid (which I had the honour of visiting last month), offer critical support in our area.

They are inspirational organisations that don’t just reach out to victims but support them to rebuild their lives.

All four will now see a 50 per cent boost in their funding so that they can offer advice, support, and counselling to more victims across the region than ever before.

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This lift is the second time we have increased funding in the last year to the Rape Support Fund, bringing it to £12m per year from April.

The increase will allow our local services to plan for the future – offering them stability and security so that they can focus on delivering services that victims so desperately need.

We know there is a long way to go in supporting victims of rape and sexual abuse to process what has happened to them and move on with their lives.

This government is determined to do everything possible to ensure that they need not suffer alone or in silence.

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