TOKYO, Jan. 4 (AP) - (Kyodo)—The Cabinet Office said Tuesday it will provide a toll-free, round-the-clock hot line service for both male and female victims of sexual and domestic violence for two months from February.
"We hope we will be able to help victims who are suffering alone and to use the service to create a future support system for them," a Cabinet Office official said.
According to a 2008 Cabinet Office survey, over 60 percent of women victims of sexual assault never consulted anyone about their suffering.
Counselors including those from around 50 private support groups will talk with victims over the phone and refer them to hospitals and investigative authorities when necessary. Non-Japanese nationals will also be able to use the service during limited hours.
The government earmarked 1.04 billion yen for the service in the supplementary budget for the current fiscal year.
The issue of sexual violence in Japan has drawn the attention of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which urged Tokyo in 2009 to launch a free hot line service and take other steps to help victims whose suffering goes unrecognized. Gov't to launch hot line for victims of sexual, domestic violence