A video interview suite specially designed to reduce stress among victims of serious sexual violence has been formally opened by Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles (Thursday, 23 April).
Ministry of Justice funding for the project in north Derbyshire was awarded to the Commissioner following his joint proposal on behalf of all the support service partners. The plan for the all-modern suite was made in response to feedback from the Crown Court and victims.
“This is a great step forward in enabling victims to cope with the Criminal Justice System process,” the Commissioner explained. “Its purpose-built facilities are geared towards improving the victim’s experience when providing evidence about an extremely distressing and difficult time in their lives.”
He went on: “Having the suite in Glossop means that local victims will not have to travel far in order to give evidence. Considerations like these are very important in helping victims to feel safe.”
It is hoped that the project will encourage more victims of rape and sexual violence to report the crime and provide the evidence needed, leading to more convictions. Figures show that the police receive up to 1500 reports of violence each month, including more than 100 from victims at high risk and 200 at medium risk.
Detective Inspector Tony Brittan of the Public Protection unit added: “We are delighted with the support from the PCC that enabled us to finance this facility. Previously having to travel long distances across Derbyshire did not appropriately support victims in what was already an extremely difficult time in their lives.
A purpose built suite with high quality video for the High Peaks area of Derbyshire will ensure that the start of the victim’s journey into the criminal justice system is made as easy as possible.
Derbyshire Constabulary was among the partners involved in the Commissioner’s successful bid to the Ministry of Justice Competed Fund. The bid won £39,500 to help finance the suite, while a second project was awarded £60,000 for technological devices designed to protect victims at high risk of serious domestic violence. An alarm set via GPS enables the victim to summon the aid they need, alert police to their whereabouts and also allow what is happening to be recorded for evidence.
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Posted on Friday 24th April 2015