The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced an investment of more than £4 million to help tackle sexual abuse in London, meeting a manifesto commitment to improve support for victims.
The funding – for services already supporting abuse victims – was confirmed as a study carried out by City Hall and NHS England revealed that the needs of survivors across the capital are going unmet.
The Mayor’s Deputy for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, discussed the study – as well as how best to protect those most at risk from sexual abuse – at a high-level meeting at City Hall today (Monday). The meeting also discussed the findings of last week’s HMIC report which exposed serious failings in the way the Met protected children. Those attending included theNational Probation Service, Women and Girls Network, Crown Prosecution Service, Survivors Trust and London Rehabilitation Company.
Each year around 24,000 adults in London experience serious sexual assault or rape. Whilst reporting has increased, support for survivors through the criminal justice process is patchy across the city. The City Hall and NHS England study into sexual violence and child sexual exploitation, published today, found inconsistent access to legal and mental health services, limited funding for prevention work, and a lack of a strategic, joined-up approach to meet the specific needs and demands of the capital.
To address these gaps, the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) is working with NHS England to develop a new model for sexual abuse services in London, in partnership with existing providers. The Mayor has extended funding for three London Sexual Assault Referral Centres (Havens) and four London Rape Crisis Centres for an additional year until March 2018, during which time MOPAC will work with them on redesigning services so they better meet the demands and needs of survivors.