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Rape: Telephone Services

Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what freephone 24-hour telephone lines exist for victims of rape and sexual assault in Northern Ireland. (227223)

The Northern Ireland Office—in partnership with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive—jointly fund a free phone 24 hour helpline (0800 917 1414) for victims of domestic violence which is managed by Women’s Aid Federation.

A number of other organisations provide a combination of 24 hour telephone and messaging services to other victims of sexual violence. Childline operate a 24 hour free phone service while those provided by the Nexus Institute, Samaritans, Victim Support and out of hours health services incur either low or normal call rates.

The recently published Northern Ireland Regional Sexual Violence and Abuse Strategy, jointly developed by DHSSPS and NIO, contains a commitment to assess the need for a regional 24 hour helpline within the context of proposals to develop the Sexual Assault Referral Centre.