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First class support for Manchester rape survivors is key stop on Law Officers tour

The Law Officers – Attorney General Victoria Prentis KC and Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson KC – met staff at The St Mary’s Centre, a sexual assault referral scheme.

The centre, currently based on Oxford Road, is one of the leading centres in the country for its work supporting victims of sexual crime. It offers aftercare services, both forensic and counselling based to those affected, and dedicated Independent Sexual Violence Advisors are on hand to support victims through the justice process.

Later this year, the centre will be moving to new premises in Peter Mount and The Law Officers were able to visit the centre as it takes shape.

Attorney General Victoria Prentis KC said:

We know St Mary’s is one of the country’s leading centres for supporting victims of these abhorrent crimes. The new facilities are world-class, and we hope they will continue to be a haven for those who enter its doors.

It is easy to underestimate the bravery needed to report a sexual assault and to persevere through report to court. Having this one-stop centre for victims both male and female is a massive benefit for the people of Manchester. It has been fascinating to visit at this important part of the centre’s history.

The staff at the centre work closely with colleagues from the Crown Prosecution Service’s North West offices to make sure the support afforded to victims continues throughout their journey through the criminal justice system and CPS staff were on hand to meet the Law Officers too.

Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson KC added:

The court process can clearly add so much anxiety for victim who have already endured such a terrible ordeal.

The support they receive can be instrumental in helping them stay engaged with the justice process, especially in measures like being able to give evidence to court via live video link from the centre in a place where they feel safe and supported.

The Manchester visit was part of a three-day tour to the North West and Midlands by the Law Officers to look at victim support measures and to explore how law is supporting loal communities.

Dr. Michelle Carroll, Joint Clinical Director of St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) said:

We welcome the visit of the Attorney General, Solicitor General and our colleagues from the Crown Prosecution Service in the North West, to showcase our work and view our new home – which will provide first class facilities to our service users.

Saint Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre is proud to have pioneered the way for victims of rape and sexual assault, and this visit is a chance to recognise the tireless work of our teams who help put people’s lives back together, enabling them to move forward in a positive way and to prevent these horrendous experiences of abuse to define their future.

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