- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
May 25 2011
DOMESTIC violence campaigner Joyce Watson AM has called for a Welsh Government debate on the implications of UK spending cuts on support services for rape victims.
The call came in the wake of controversial remarks made by UK Justice Minister Ken Clarke who appeared to suggests in a BBC interview that some rapes were more serious than others. He later clarified his comments and apologised if they had been misinterpreted.
Speaking in a session of the National Assembly for Wales on Wednesday (25 May), Joyce argued that rape “is always a heinous, violent crime” and claimed that the “furore” “raised serious questions” about the UK Government’s priorities for funding rape victim specialist support services.
The Labour Mid and West Wales Assembly Member said:
“The recent furore over the UK Justice Minister’s comments about rape not only raised serious questions about how the Government in Westminster treats what is always a heinous, violent crime, but also about how much affect the proposals for reducing sentencing for rapists will have given that rape is still a massively unreported crime that goes un-sentenced in most cases. His comments also raised concerns about the priorities of the UK Government with regard to funding for services that support rape victims.
“Would the Minister consider allocating Government time so that the Assembly can debate the implication of UK Government cuts on services here in Wales that help victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence?”
In March, national charity Women’s Aid, which supports a network of over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the UK, described proposed cuts to support services as “absolutely devastating” and warned that it would “cost lives”.