The Government has launched a £40m fund to help victims of rape and domestic abuse during the pandemic.
The new fund will allow support organisations to recruit more staff, keep helplines open for longer and adapt to remote counselling where necessary.
Charities supporting people facing abuse have reported a 200% increase in calls and people accessing webchat services since the first lockdown.
Over £20m will go towards local, community-based sexual violence and domestic abuse services, helping to reduce the amount of time survivors have to wait for support, and £16m will fund the recruitment of more independent sexual violence and domestic abuse advisers.
Around £2m has been set aside for smaller, specialist organisations helping BAME, LGBTQ+ or disabled victims, and £1.3m will fund remote and online services.
The Government has also launched an advertising campaign, #ItStillMatters, which seeks to raise awareness of sexual violence services and ensure victims of rape and sexual abuse know where to get help.
Justice minister Alex Chalk commented: ‘For many victims this pandemic has been an inescapable nightmare in which they often feel trapped and at greater risk of harm.
‘Their protection remains an absolute priority and this funding, backed by our new campaign, should mean no victim is left to suffer alone.’