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Sexual Offences

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received recent reports on incidents of (a) sexual violence against female gang members by male members of the same gang and (b) sexual violence by male gang members against sisters and girlfriends of male members of rival gangs. (319781)

The Home Office does not collect individual crime reports. However, the Home Office is committed to increasing the reporting and conviction rates for rape and sexual violence, and works closely with the police and other stakeholders to ensure that women who have been victims of sexual violence come forward and, when they do, these crimes are investigated fully. As part of our drive to tackle sexual violence and ensure that victims are well supported we have been increasing the number of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and continuing to support Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) to aid police investigations and to provide good quality support to victims. In 2010-11 the Home Office will be spending approximately £2 million to supplement local funding for SARCs and ISVAs, bringing the total investment over the past six years to £14 million.

The Home Office also recently funded the launch of the Female Voice in Violence report by Race on the Agenda (ROTA), which examined the involvement of girls and young women in gangs. While the vast majority of victims and perpetrators of gang violence are men, there is a distinct and serious issue of young women’s involvement with gangs as the ROTA report highlights. In recognition of the importance of this issue, the Home Office has already provided funding for a number of intelligence gathering and good practice events and are now looking at how the experience, knowledge and resources highlighted can be shared and developed.