Over £550,000 in new grant funding for charities helping victims of sexual abuse was announced today (Thursday 21 July) by the Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, Sarah Newton.
The funding, awarded to Rape Crisis England and Wales, Galop, the Survivors Trust, LimeCulture and National Association of People Abused in Childhood, will provide vital services including training staff to assist victims, boosting rape support centres, and establishing a helpline for victims of sexual abuse.
The Home Office and Department for Education have also today launched a public consultation exercise on whether statutory measures should be introduced for reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect.
The consultation, which runs until Thursday 13 October, seeks views from the public, practitioners and professionals on the case for the possible introduction of one of 2 additional statutory measures:
a mandatory reporting duty, which would require certain organisations and any person working with children to report child abuse or neglect if they knew or had reasonable cause to suspect it was taking place
a duty to act, which would require them to take appropriate action in relation to child abuse or neglect if they knew or had reasonable cause to suspect it was taking place
The consultation delivers on the commitment made by the government in 2015 as part of the Serious Crime Act.
Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism Sarah Newton said:
Sexual abuse is an abhorrent crime and it is vital we give every victim the support they need.
This new frontline funding is a key part of the ongoing action we are taking to help the victims who need it most as they recover from the trauma they have suffered.
Minister of State for the Department of Education Edward Timpson said:
We must do all we can to protect children and young people from abuse and neglect. That’s why we’re making radical improvements to make sure services identify children at risk as early as possible and take swift action to give them the protection and care they need, but events in Rotherham, Oxford and elsewhere show there is still more to be done.
It’s right therefore that we look at whether it’s necessary to strengthen the law to better protect the most vulnerable. I know that social workers, teachers and other professionals are as passionate about protecting the young people they care for as I am – I would encourage them to share their views with us over the next 12 weeks.
This government is already introducing a number of wide-ranging reforms aimed at strengthening and improving the whole child protection system. In December 2015 the then Prime Minister announced a £100 million investment to attract more high-calibre graduates into social work by expanding the successful Frontline and Step Up programmes. Also in December, we commissioned a fundamental review by Alan Wood of local safeguarding children boards and local strategic multi-agency working.