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Volume 447: debated on Monday 19 June 2006

In this financial year, the Home Office is investing around £2.75 million in services supporting victims of sexual violence, including sexual assault referral centres, independent sexual violence advisers who will provide support through the criminal justice system and specialist sexual violence voluntary organisations providing therapeutic care.

I thank my hon. Friend for her answer. In a recent report, Portsmouth was cited as the city with the highest number of reported rapes in the country, but that was partly due to the fact that we have an excellent rape crisis centre, offering support to men and women and giving them the confidence to report rapes and bring the perpetrators to justice. Does my hon. Friend agree that such services are important, and will she agree to come to Portsmouth to see for herself the excellent work being done at the rape crisis centre and to use it as a model of best practice?

I thank my hon. Friend and am aware of her efforts and support for the provision of quality services in this area. I hope that a visit can be arranged, as I would be most willing to go to Portsmouth. My hon. Friend will know that we are working across Government to develop an action plan on sexual violence, aimed at preventing such violence by increasing reporting of cases, increasing access to help and support services, and improving the criminal justice system response to victims of sexual violence.