The Ministry of Justice has announced that children born as a result of rape will be officially recognised as victims of crime following recommendations from the Justice Select Committee on the government’s draft Victims Bill in September 2022
The current position is vague. A lack of explicit reference to children born as a result of rape in the Victim’s Code means many find it difficult to claim support and entitlements like being provided with information about their case. Amendments to the Victims Bill will clarify that individuals born as a result of rape will be treated as victims in their own right with access to greater support from police and the courts.
In a statement on gov.uk Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab MP said:
“No child born in these horrific circumstances should be left to suffer alone, which is why we must ensure they can access vital support whenever they may need it.”
“Our Victims Bill will amplify their voices and boost support for all victims at every stage of the justice system.”
The government has committed to increasing funding for victim support services including investment to increase the number of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and Independent Domestic Violence Advisors. It’s own estimates suggest that “thousands of children are conceived from rape each year and the government is determined to ensure they receive the support they deserve.”
Their targets include a quadrupling financial investment by 2025 compared to 2010, and over 1,000 Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and Independent Domestic Violence Advisors by 2024/25.
The investment will go towards better access to therapy and counselling sessions providing support around self-blame and shame, family issues and psychological guidance to develop coping mechanisms for processing difficult emotions. It is hoped the change will also provide greater recognition from support and advocacy services.
The amendments apply to children born as a result of rape whatever age they are and will cover all sexual offences which can result in a pregnancy, for example, position of trust offences.