Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)
1. Introduction and background
1.1. The Mayor of London has made a commitment in the Police and Crime Plan, to ‘sustain the current investment in Rape Crisis provision, including rape crisis centres and London’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre.’ Rape and Sexual Violence is a critical part of the Mayor’s Violence Against Women and Girls priority area. In his Plan, the Mayor has committed to undertake research into rape and sexual violence data; develop a new sexual violence model; co-fund advocacy services and encourage more survivors to come forward and report to criminal justice agencies.
1.2. The four London Rape Crisis Centres provide several services which include confidential helplines, long and short-term specialist counselling, practical support through the criminal justice system, group support and prevention work including awareness rising with professionals and work in schools.
1.3. The London Sexual Assault Referral Centre, also known as the London Havens, is the only service in London that provides forensic medical examinations and follow up services for victims of rape and serious sexual violence.
2. Issues for consideration
2.1. The extension of funding for the two services will enable MOPAC to ensure a continuous service offer for victims of rape and serious sexual offences. MOPAC is the majority funder for the London Rape Crisis Centres. MOPAC co-funds the London Sexual Assault Referral Centre alongside NHS England who are the commissioners of the service. The funding provided by MOPAC and NHS England ensures that both services – London Havens and the Rape Crisis Centres - can continue to support survivors and meet the considerable need and demand in the Capital.
3. Financial Comments
3.1 In his Police and Crime Plan the Mayor has made a commitment to “Sustain the current investment in vital rape crisis provision including rape crisis centres and London’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC.)” MOPAC provides annual funding to the four Rape Crisis Centres, to the sum of £1,260,000 and £2,165,000.00 to the SARCs to deliver rape and sexual violence support services in the Capital. This annual funding will be sustained over the course of the current Mayoral term however, MOPAC may consider and review allocations to the service providers post March 2019 in partnership with NHS England (London).
3.2 MOPAC will be issuing new grant agreements to the four centres on the 1 April 2018. Grant Agreements will continue to reflect existing key deliverables but will also include specific new requirements regarding the new London Sexual Violence Triage model. NHS England who commission the London Havens service will submit a Memorandum of Understanding for the £2,165,000 to MOPAC to review and sign in the new financial year.
4. Legal Comments
4.1. MOPAC’s general powers are set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (the 2011 Act). Section 3(6) of the 2011 Act provides that MOPAC must “secure the maintenance of the metropolitan police service and secure that the metropolitan police service is efficient and effective.” This is a broad power and the initiatives appear to be part of many proposals which are aimed at supporting victims of crime to enable the efficiency and effectiveness of the police service.
4.2. In addition, under Schedule 3, paragraph 7, MOPAC has wide incidental powers to “do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of the functions of the Office.” Paragraph 7(2) (a) provides that this includes entering into contracts and other agreements.
4.3. The proposed pilot may raise issues under the Data Protection Act 1998, and officers should ensure that potential issues are assessed and appropriate measures taken to comply with the legislation.
4.4. Officers must ensure the Financial Regulations and Contract Regulations are complied with. Officers must ensure that appropriate funding agreements are put in place between MOPAC and the recipients before any commitment to fund is made.
5. Equality Comments
5.1. In November 2016, MOPAC published a needs assessment that it had commissioned in partnership with NHS England (London.) This considered the extent of sexual violence need and demand in the Capital and how this was being met by the services that organisations and partners were commissioning. This needs assessment highlighted that:
Each year around 24,000 adults in London experience sexual assault or rape;
The clear majority of these victims are women (85%)
For both men and women, the offender is normally male in 99% of cases
The London Havens provide services to all victims/survivors of sexual violence and rape. The London Havens also has a service – Child and Young Persons Haven – that works exclusively with young people.
The Rape Crisis Services exclusively work with women and girls from a range of backgrounds and nationalities. They also ensure that male survivors are signposted to appropriate provision.
Both services have extensive referral pathways in place, ensuring that survivors who may have specific needs or requirements due to a protected characteristic are referred onto other specialist service providers.
5.2. Under s149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the Equality Act), as a public authority the Deputy Mayor/MOPAC must have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and any conduct that is prohibited by or under this Act; and to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. Protected characteristics under the Equality Act are age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and marriage or civil partnership status (the duty in respect of this last characteristic is to eliminate unlawful discrimination only).