At tonight's council meeting there will be a lot on the agenda and particularly a lot to say about next year's budget, which I will blog about tomorrow if I have time. However I am also proposing a motion to full council supporting a SARC in Reading, a single point of contact for rape and sexual abuse victims. I'm hoping it will get cross party support. The text is below:
This council notes:
The campaign for a Sexual Abuse Referral Centre (SARC) for Reading
That a SARC is a single point of contact where victims can go with or without police involvement, and have access to counseling, be referred for health services and undertake forensic examination, yielding the evidence the police will need if the victim makes a complaint then or later.
That rape is a hugely traumatic experience which can affect men, women and children and leave the victim feeling bereft and alone and very much in need of support
That the nearest SARC is in in Slough and driving or taking a train to another town and having to find your way around there may put off victims of rape, or other sexual assault, from getting the support they need.
That the long term benefits of early intervention and counseling after a rape can include better mental and physical health for the victim as well as more convictions, which are sadly still very necessary.
That SARCs are funded either by the police or the NHS or acting in partnership.
This council therefore resolves to:
Encourage residents to sign the epetition on the government website:
To work with the Police and the NHS to find a way to open a SARC in ReadingInstruct the Chief Executive to write to his counterparts in Reading Police and Berkshire West PCT informing them of this motion and asking them to work with us