New centres to help abuse victims

By Dave GooderhamVULNERABLE victims of child abuse and domestic violence are set to receive vital support and information from a new specialist care centre.

By Dave Gooderham

VULNERABLE victims of child abuse and domestic violence are set to receive vital support and information from a new specialist care centre.

Offering help to victims and witnesses of crime, the Victim Care Centre in Bury St Edmunds was launched yesterday and will be swiftly followed by similar units in Lowestoft and Ipswich costing almost £2 million.

Police said the centres would further improve the service offered to victims with specialist officers and staff on hand to help those who have suffered domestic violence or sex attacks.

Pc Rebecca Stocking, victim care officer, said: “Domestic violence blights so many lives and I hope that my work helps some victims recover from its effects and take positive steps forward.

“Every case is different - and you never get used to dealing with the effects of domestic violence and seeing how it saps victims' self-esteem.

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“Our aim is to put victims in a position where they can make positive life choices for themselves and the greatest satisfaction comes from seeing these people get their lives back on track.”

The centre features three fully-equipped video interview rooms, a medical examination suite and a conference room.

Detective Constable Chris Murton, child protection team officer, who will investigate and support victims of child abuse, said: “In this job, we deal with extremely sensitive cases and you need to be both diplomatic and open-minded at all times.

“The crucial thing is establishing a rapport with the child. This may not be easy as they can be downtrodden and suppressed because of their experiences - and extremely wary of adults.

“It is a challenging job, but extremely rewarding to be part of a team which helps these children escape from those who abuse them.”

The centre, part funded by a £500,000 Home Office grant, will run in conjunction with Suffolk Victim Support.

Area manager John Doylend said: “It's an extremely positive step forward and can only help provide a better service to victims and witnesses.

“Our work complements that of the police and I am very pleased that Suffolk Constabulary is placing a greater emphasis on care and support for those affected by crime.”

Detective Superintendent Stewart Gull, of Suffolk police, said they were committed to taking a lead in providing a quality service to all victims of crime.

“The new centres will provide 24-hour specialist support and care for the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Our new centres will provide immediate specialist help and support to those who need it, helping them recover from their ordeal, while at the same time assisting police in tracing those responsible for their suffering.”

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