To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that people who report (a) rape or (b) sexual assault to the police have access to specialist counselling and therapy (i) before trial and (ii) from the trial onwards.
8 December 2020
Rape and sexual assault are devastating crimes and we want victims to have the confidence to report them, knowing they will get the support they need and that everything will be done to bring offenders to justice.
The Ministry of Justice has committed £32 million over three years from 2019 to 2022 to rape support centres across England and Wales to provide emotional and practical support to victims, which may include counselling and therapy. The Home Office is also providing £200,000 in 2020/21 to specialist sexual violence support services through its National Sexual Violence Support Fund.
We understand the importance of accessing therapy after going through a traumatic experience. Earlier this year the CPS launched a public consultation on guidance for pre-trial therapy. The updated guidance will provide prosecutors, the police and therapists with practical support in helping victims through this part of the justice process.
The Government is also conducting an end-to-end review of the criminal justice response to rape, which includes considering the role of support services in victims’ engagement throughout the criminal justice system.