A NEW centre offering support for rape victims in East Lancashire is to open before the end of the year.

Victims Minister Helen Grant has today announced plans to open four rape support centres in areas where victims suffer without expert help.

The location of the new centre, described only as in Central Lancashire, has been kept secret to protect future victims.

It will receive a share of £4 million in government funding, along with the 65 already established crisis centres up and down the country, providing them with a stable financial future.

Mrs Grant said: “I want more victims of rape or sexual assault to come forward and get the specialist help they need to recover from these sickening crimes.

“That’s why we’ve ensured nearly £4million to support rape support centres over the next year. With one in 20 women reporting they were the victim of a serious sexual offence last year, it is so important they are not left to suffer in silence.”

The other three centres will be opened in Reading, Avon and Somerset and Lincolnshire.

Fay Maxted, chief executive officer of The Survivor’s Trust, said: “The opportunity to open a new rape support centre in Central Lancashire gives The Survivors Trust a unique chance to bring crucial support to areas where there has so far been no other specialist support for victims/survivors of rape and sexual abuse.

“Rape support services provide a safe place for women, men, young people and children to access the specialist counselling and support they need to allow them to regain their health and wellbeing, and to become survivors rather than victims.”

The four new centres plan to open within the year.