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10 September 2015, 18:41
An extra £1.85 million is to be invested in supporting victims of sex crimes, the Scottish Government has announced.
Ministers confirmed details of the funding in the week that recorded crime figures showed the number of sex crimes in Scotland increased by 11% last year, partly linked to a rise in reporting of historic offences.
The Government said the cash boost almost doubles the funding for Scotland's 14 rape crisis centres between 2016 and 2018.
The funding for Rape Crisis Scotland will also be used to support additional projects, including the development of specialist services in Orkney and Shetland.
The rest of the money will go towards advocacy and support workers to help people going through the criminal justice process, and work with young people on issues of consent and healthy sexual relationships.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson announced details of the funding during a visit to the Edinburgh Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre.
He said: "We are absolutely committed to tackling domestic abuse and sexual offending in Scotland and this £1.85 million funding will help provide important additional support for victims of these terrible crimes.
"Organisations such as Rape Crisis Scotland are doing fantastic work across the country, providing a vital service and giving support and advice for victims of sexual violence.
"We want to do all we can to support them, which is why we are today increasing funding for these services by record amounts. Each of the 14 local rape crisis centres are receiving an 80% rise in financial support and the new services in Orkney and Shetland are very important - making sure women all over Scotland are able to access these vital services.''
The money is coming from a £20 million pot announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in March to tackle all forms of violence against women.
The £20 million funding over three years is in addition to the £11.8 million to tackle violence against women as part of the Scottish Government's equality budget for 2015-16.
Rape Crisis Scotland national co-ordinator Sandy Brindley said the organisation is "delighted'' to receive the "significant additional funding''.
She added: "This funding will enable every rape crisis centre across the country to employ a dedicated support and advocacy worker who will provide much needed support and assistance.
"The funding will also enable us to work in partnership with women's aid to establish a rape crisis service across Orkney and Shetland.''
Sandra Paton, the manager of women's aid Orkney, also welcomed the investment.