Rape victims ‘face postcode lottery’

Help patchy for rape and domestic violence victims

Victims of rape and domestic violence have no access to crisis centres or refuges in many parts of Britain.

Women face a ‘postcode lottery’ in provision, with some areas offering support and others having no services at all, according to a report published today.

One third of local authorities in the UK have no services to help deal with the affects of sexual and domestic abuse. Five areas are particularly underserved – the east of England, London, Northern Ireland, the north west and the south west.

The nine parts of the country with the best services were Birmingham, Bradford, Hammersmith & Fulham, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield. The situation in Scotland was also more positive.

The report, Map of Gaps, was produced by the Commission for Equality and Human Rights and the coalition End Violence Against Women.

The Commission’s chairman, Trevor Phillips, said there was ‘an undeclared war against women in this country’. Three million women experience violence in one form or another every year – and all should have access to a place of safety and support in her search for justice, he said.

Phillips said the organisation may take legal action in a year’s time under gender equality laws to make sure women have access to services.

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