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NHS England

Survivors of sexual abuse to receive lifelong mental health support

NHS England has announced plans to provide life-long mental health care support to people who have been sexually abused, as part of a new five-year strategy to tackle sexual abuse and assault in England.

The plans recommend that sexual assault referral centres should be better integrated into community services and that there should be improved support for men who are abused or assaulted.

The strategy, which has £4m annual funding until 2020/2021, has six priorities: improving prevention; promoting safeguarding and the safety, protection and welfare of survivors; involving survivors in the development and improvement of services; new consistent quality standards; increased collaboration; and developing a trained workforce.

Launching the strategy, Kate Davies, NHS England’s director of sexual assault services, said: “Our new guarantee of personal, joined-up and life-long care for those who have suffered sexual assault and abuse, will build on excellent progress to address a big gap in care.”

Minister for mental health and inequalities, Jackie Doyle-Price, said the strategy will deliver longer lasting, more joined-up and better signposted care.

In the year ending September 2017, police recorded 138,045 sexual offences — the highest figure on record. It is estimated that up to 80% of incidents go unreported.

More than a third of rape survivors and half of females who have survived other sexual offences, including assaults, grooming and sexual exploitation, are aged under 16 years.

Around 10% of rape survivors (including attempted rape) annually, are male.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204961

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