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7 March, 2024

Commissioner marks key progress towards New Victims’ Centre

Commissioner Zoe with partners and stakeholders at the new Victims Centre
Zoë Metcalfe, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire today marked the progress of a new facility designed to provide specialist services and support to victims of sexual offences from across York and North Yorkshire.

More than £2 million is being invested to create a modern, fit-for-purpose Victims’ Centre to support those who have suffered some of the worst crimes imaginable to recover and rebuild their lives.

The Adult Sexual Assault Referral Centre (“SARC”) and Child Sexual Assault Assessment Services will be delivered from the new centre. These provide vital crisis support to any victim of rape or sexual abuse and forensic medical examinations to collect any physical forensic evidence.

The Centre will also provide referrals to healthcare, and support through the criminal justice process in an attempt to support victims through the trauma they have suffered and heal for the future.

North Yorkshire Police will use two new state-of-the-art video interview suites to provide a safe and secure space where victims can feel as at ease as possible, reducing the amount of time they need to repeat the account of what happened to them with the stress and pain that can cause.

In order to ensure the centre is fit for purpose, the Commissioner’s Office is working closely with a variety of stakeholders and partners following Commissioner Zoë’s purchase of the property in 2022.

Zoë’s office has commissioned Kier Group to ensure both quality and value for money, with the new facility due to open this autumn.

Zoe Metcalfe, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner said: 

“I am very proud to share that work has started on our new North Yorkshire and York Victims’ Centre.

“This new facility will be a safe space for victims to receive support from empathetic, trained professionals where their aim is to help individuals through their difficult time by providing welcoming, calming, and relaxing support for all.

“I am delighted that we will soon be able to offer such a vital improved resource to people across our region and demonstrate the value of such direct investment in our communities.”

 Johanna Ropner – His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant Of North Yorkshire said: 

“It has been wonderful to see the bare bones of such an amazing Centre that has been purchased and is going to be fitted out.

“It’s so important to York and North Yorkshire to have this kind of area for victim support and young people.

“I think it will be used, by sadly a lot of people, but it will be a gold star experience which is crucial for vulnerable people.”

Deputy Chief Constable Scott Bisset said:

“Sexual offences have a profound and devastating impact on victims and people close to them.  North Yorkshire Police’s responsibility is to effectively investigate these crimes from the moment they are reported to us but at the heart of the investigation is the victim. The Police have a responsibility to ensure the best levels of victim care and support. We cannot do this alone and we work closely with other organisations who have the expertise and experience to provide this specialist victim support in a number of ways.

“Anyone who is a victim of a sexual offence can come forward with the confidence that specialist centres like this are tailored to them. They will get the support they deserve from people who properly understand their needs. This can help build strong cases against suspects, secure criminal convictions for perpetrators at court and, really importantly, provide valuable support that helps victims begin to rebuild their lives.”

 Alan Smith, Kier Places Operations Director (Building Solutions), said:

“We’re really proud to be working on such an important facility for North Yorkshire. The finished Centre will provide much needed support for victims of crime and their families, as well as technical facilities for the police to be able to provide the best possible service.

“The whole process for this project has been built on strong communication, collaboration, and a focus on best practice. We have a lot of experience in this kind of work for police forces across Yorkshire and we were able to bring that first-hand knowledge to life to support with this project.”

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