Norfolk

Centre for rape victims is opened in Norwich

A centre to help victims of rape and serious sexual assault in Norfolk has been opened.

The Harbour Sexual Assault Referral Centre has opened in a secret location in Norwich.

It aims to enable victims to report their abuse and undergo medical examinations without necessarily prompting a police investigation.

It also has facilities for medical and forensic examinations and video interviewing.

'Self-referral'

It is being supported by Norfolk Police, NHS Norfolk and Great Yarmouth and Waveney NHS Trust.

Health experts and police officers hope the "self-referral" route will encourage those who may feel too afraid to approach the police to at least seek help and advice.

Det Insp Debbie Gunnill, of Norfolk Police, said: "It can be extremely difficult for someone to open up to the police, especially if there are family members involved, there is often a stigma attached."

The Harbour Centre is one of more than 30 such facilities across the UK.

It aims to provide a non-judgmental service regardless of gender, sexuality, race, religion, age, disability, or background.

Harbour Centre manager Diana Baxter said: "Rape and sexual assault can have a devastating impact on victims and their families and we hope the centre will help provide the necessary support and care they fully deserve."

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