We want every report of sexual assault to be treated seriously from the point of disclosure; we want every victim to be treated with dignity, and every investigation and every prosecution to be conducted thoroughly and professionally.
Our main concern is the rights and welfare of the victim. We are committed to ensuring that every victim of sexual violence has access to appropriate support. In particular, we have provided £1.72 million per year to part fund 87 independent sexual violence advisor posts from 2011/12 to 2014/15.
Independent sexual violence advisers
We have part funded 87 independent sexual violence adviser posts (ISVAs) to work with victims of recent and historic serious sexual crimes to get the help they need.
The support provided by an ISVA will vary from case to case, depending on the needs of the victim and their particular circumstances. However, the main role of an ISVA includes making sure that victims of sexual abuse have the best advice on:
- what counselling and other services are available to them
- the process involved in reporting a crime to the police
- taking their case through the criminal justice process, should they choose to do so
Young people’s advocates
As part of our Ending gang and youth violence programme, we are providing £1.2 million over 3 years (from 2012 to 2015) for 13 young people’s advocates to support young people at risk of or suffering sexual violence and/or sexual exploitation, particularly by gangs.
The funding has been awarded to 8 organisations with experience of working with young people, victims of sexual violence and gangs from the voluntary and charity and public sectors, and will further improve the help and support available to young people.
Young people’s advocates work in the areas most affected by gangs and understand the specific risks gang violence can have for young people. They work closely with local authorities, the police, youth offending teams and other local partners and share knowledge.
Child sexual exploitation and grooming
Recent court cases involving the appalling sexual exploitation of children have raised a number of important issues not just for the government, but for social services, the police and the criminal justice system in how we protect our children.
Our response to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry, Child sexual exploitation and the response to localised grooming, outlines how we will:
- prevent abuse happening in the first place
- protect children online
- make sure the police and others are best placed to identify and deal with problems
- ensure victims are at the heart of the criminal justice system