In March 2008, the Minister for Women and Equality announced a £1.1 million Special Fund to Rape Crisis Centres (members of Rape Crisis England and Wales). This was a targeted response to specific evidence from Rape Crisis England and Wales that their members faced financial difficulties. Following evidence from The Survivors' Trust, the terms of this year's £1.6million Special Fund have been expanded to ensure that members of both Rape Crisis (England and Wales) and The Survivors' Trust can apply.
The Special Fund and other central Government funds are provided in addition to local funding, for example from local authorities, health bodies and charitable trusts. The Government believe that local decision makers are best placed to assess local needs, and Government expect the majority of funding to the sexual violence voluntary sector to come from local sources.
Nevertheless, the Government recognise the ongoing problems experienced by the sexual violence sector, particularly in respect of accessing local funding. Officials across Government are working to consider what more we can do, based on the recommendations made by the Home Office's Stakeholder Advisory Group on Sexual Violence and Abuse Funding Sub-group.
My Department has commissioned a research project to help improve our understanding of the stability and sustainability of the violence against women voluntary sector, which includes Rape Crisis Centres (members of Rape Crisis England and Wales). We are keen to develop a robust evidence base to help Government better support this sector.