Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Katie Price revelations tell of need for better services for rape survivors

Good on Katie Price for urging any women who has been affected by rape to talk to somebody they trust about it.

Recent figures show that 40 per cent of adults who are raped tell no one. Sadly, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise – across the UK there is patchy provision of support services, and many people face a culture of disbelief and delayed responses when they do seek support. With successful rape convictions averaging out at 7 per cent in England and Wales, thousands of victims have no little or no access to justice. All too often, where you live makes the biggest difference – levels of support and conviction rates vary wildly between different areas.

At this week’s Green Party conference in Hove, I am proposing a new policy which would see Greens back a new national rape crisis hotline, funded by the government. This would provide 24-hour, seven day access to immediate support and referral for victims of sexual crimes – wherever they happen to live. People in need would be directed to the nearest and most appropriate local service; no one would be left alone to figure out how to access help and report a rape.

Currently, victims of rape face a postcode lottery. It is a national scandal that anyone who has experience such a horrific crime should be left feeling unable to even tell someone else what has happened. A new national hotline would go some way to ensuring all who need help get it.

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