New centre for abuse victims

A SCHEME to provide a new way of giving help and support to victims of crime in Ipswich is under way today.Suffolk Constabulary has this week opened it's first Victim Care Centre and is already planning to open two more in the county, one in Ipswich.

A SCHEME to provide a new way of giving help and support to victims of crime in Ipswich is under way today.

Suffolk Constabulary has this week opened it's first Victim Care Centre and is already planning to open two more in the county, one in Ipswich.

The first centre to open, in Bury St Edmunds, was launched yesterday and has been designed to offer help to vulnerable and intimidated victims or witnesses of crime. The service will also include children and people subjected to domestic violence or hate crime.

Following the opening of the Bury centre, two more are planned – one in Lowestoft and one in Ipswich.

Each centre will have video interview rooms, medical examination rooms, conference rooms and office space.

Detective superintendent Stewart Gull said: "Becoming a victim of crime can be traumatic for anyone – but particularly for the most vulnerable in our society. 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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The project is costing the force £1.8 million, with £500,000 coming from the Home Office.

Suffolk Victim Support, an independent charity set up 30 years ago, has also welcomed the new centre.

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

When all three centres are open they will each be staffed by two separate teams. The Child Protection Team will investigate allegations of physical and sexual abuse as well as cruelty and neglect.

The Victim Care Team will work with people who have suffered sexual offences, domestic violence and hate crime. It will also work with vulnerable and intimidated witnesses.

Suffolk Victim Support has a support line – 0845 30 30 900 - or can be contacted on 01473 231964.

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