At the Green Party's annual conference next week, party leader Caroline Lucas MEP will urge the Greens to toughen-up aspects of their social policy platform ahead of the general election.
And one of the party's new policies should be a government-funded national hotline for victims of rape and sexual abuse, she will say.
Caroline Lucas said today: "Rape crisis centres are struggling for funding. Some have closed; others provide phone services for a few hours a week. 40% of adults who are raped tell no-one. 31% of children who are abused reach adulthood without speaking of it. They may need help at any time."
"Vital services must be funded from taxation"
Dr Lucas, who is widely tipped to become the party's first UK MP in the coming general election, added: "These are absolutely vital services, and it's entirely appropriate that they be funded from taxation." The cost for such a hotline is estimated by the Green Party to be between £4 million and £5 million per year. (1)
"This is not meant to replace existing services, which also deserve better government support than they are getting now. Their knowledge of their own community and ability to meet its needs is irreplaceable. But there needs to be a overall and referral service open at any time a victim needs it."
If the motion passes, the Green Party's new policy would be to fund a national rape crisis hotline, to be operated by an NGO, to provide 24-hour, seven day access to immediate support and referral for victims of sexual crimes. This would direct callers to local services, including local phone lines.
Caroline Lucas added that she expected the motion to win strong support.