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7 March 2014, 06:00
Victims of rape and sexual abuse in Berkshire will get more support as a new centre opens in Reading.
Reading & Berkshire Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, also known as Trust House Reading, is launching later, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Justice.
£360,000 has been invested in the centre as part of a Government committment to open new rape support centres across the country.
Victims will be able to get access to specialist services such as counselling, email support and a confidential helpline.
The funding will mean the centre can provide practical and emotional support to men and women who've been affected by sexual abuse until 2016.
So far 15 specialist volunteers have been trained and are ready to step up as Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs).
It comes just days after a major survey by The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has revealed one in three women in Europe have suffered a physical or sexual assault.
Damian Green, Victims' Minister, said:
"Victims of rape and sexual assault must have access to specialist support to help them recover and encourage them to speak out and seek justice. That is why centres like this one in Reading are so important.
"This Government made a commitment to open 15 new rape support centres across the country. We have recently allocated £4.4m to fund 78 centres over the next year, including 13 set up since 2010, and announced that we will establish two more centres."
Fay Maxted, CEO of The Survivor's Trust said:
"We have been delighted to manage the set up of Trust House Reading. We have now secured premises, appointed staff and recruited our first volunteers. It is an exciting time for everyone involved seeing the project come together.
"We've had excellent support from Thames Valley Police and Reading Borough Council along with local activists and campaigners who have all been crucial to establishing the project so far.
"The specialist services that the new centre will provide are absolutely essential to the recovery and long-term well-being of victims and survivors of rape and sexual abuse."
To access any of Trust House Reading's services, visit http://www.trusthousereading.org/