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Crime: Victims

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will review the adequacy of funding of support services for women affected by sexual crime in Peterborough constituency; and if he will make a statement. (171942)

The Victims Fund was established to provide injections of funding for a wide range of services for victims and witnesses. It was not intended to provide core long-term resources or substitute for local funding. Grant recipients for previous years accepted their award under the agreement that it was for one year only. The resources from the Victims Fund for 2007-08 have already been allocated under the principles of open competition and are not subject to review.

There has been no reduction of funding from central Government for the specialist sexual violence and childhood abuse sector this year. Out of the £3 million package, £1.25 million has been allocated through the Victims Fund with the remainder used for funding the umbrella organisations, independent sexual violence advisors and sexual assault referral centres.

Peterborough Rape Crisis applied for a grant from the 2007-08 Victims Fund but was unsuccessful against other bidders. Each application was considered on its own merits and assessed against the published criteria. The Victims Fund received over two hundred applications and a separate assessment of the impact of each unsuccessful bid is not within the scope of the grant scheme. It was also open to the organisation to apply for funding where eligible, under the various other programmes.

The majority of funding is devolved to local areas and there is extensive work under way to try to improve the stability of local specialist sexual violence and childhood abuse services. This includes having a strong focus on sexual offences in the Making Communities Safer PSA to help influence local priorities.