To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure the justice system is more accessible for victims of sexual assault.
25 February 2022
We are determined to make the criminal justice system far more sensitive to the needs of victims, and relentless in pursuing their perpetrators.
To meet that aim, we are introducing systematic and cultural change to ensure that victims feel supported through our Rape Review Action Plan; and are
- Rolling out Operation Soteria, a new investigatory model which focuses on the suspect’s, rather than the victim’s, behaviour;
- Introducing a single source of 24/7 support for victims of rape and sexual violence;
- When the victim of rape gets to trial, we are giving them the option to pre-record their evidence (Section 28) so they are spared the ordeal of giving evidence under the glare of the courtroom;
- Increasing funding for victim support services to £185 million by 2024/25; which will increase the number of Independent Sexual and Domestic Violence Advisors we fund to over 1,000;
- Extending The Rape Support Fund until March 2023, to ensure support services have the funding stability they need to meet demand. Core funding for rape support centres through this fund has increased by 50% this financial year (21/22), from £8m to £12m per annum;
- Delivering a ground-breaking Victims’ Bill which seeks to; amplify the voices of victims in the justice system, increase transparency of the performance of our criminal justice agencies, increase accountability when victims do not receive the right level of service and, ensure victims receive accessible, professional and well-coordinated services to support their recovery.
- On track to recruit 20,000 Police Officers by the end of Parliament. We have also recruited 500 new Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutors and trained 100 Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) specialists.