VITAL support centres for rape victims trying to rebuild their lives in Hampshire have been awarded £200,000 to ensure that no victim is left to suffer in silence.

Rape crisis centres in both Southampton and Winchester will take a share of the £200,000 extra funding announced by the Government’s Victims’ Minister Damian Green.

The money will be used to ensure that the centres can offer specialist services to rape victims, such as counselling, advice and helplines.

The Southampton Centre will be given £70,000 over the next 12 months and then another £70,000 between 2015/2016.

The existing centre in Winchester will receive two grants of £30,000 over the same period.

It has also been announced that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will then be able to bid for a share of £12m, on top of their budgets for 2014/15, to commission further specialist services for victims of the most serious crimes, such as domestic violence and sexual violence, and support for the most vulnerable victims in society, based on local need.

The fund will open for bids shortly, with PCCs given the funding as soon as possible.

Damian Green said: “It is vital in getting people to come forward and report serious crimes, such as rape, that there is a strong support structure in place.

“That’s why we’ve committed £16m of extra funding to support these victims over the next year.

“It is crucial we don’t leave victims to suffer in silence. That’s why the Government is opening a further two dedicated centres for rape victims and giving PCCs more money to commission specialist services in their area.”