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Workers being trained to record photographic evidence as back up for victims
CRISIS workers at a rape and sexual assault centre are to be trained to use specialist cameras to record the injuries of victim and bring their attackers to justice.
Staff at the Glade sexual assault referral centre (SARC) in Bransford, near Worcester, are to be trained using specialist, police-approved cameras to record the injuries of victims.
Training in Visual Evi-dence for Victims (VEV), which is run by Victim Support, began on Monday at the centre and staff hope the cameras will be available for use this week.
VEV is only available to men and women aged 18 or over and the use of VEV represents another string in the bow for the Glade, which began accepting self-referrals from victims earlier this year, allowing people who have been raped or sexually assaulted within the last 28 days to contact the centre independently, in confidence.
Hannah Walker, SARC co-ordinator and crisis worker, said: “It allows trained people to use police-approved cameras to take pictures of injuries and store them, so that if a victim wishes to report to the police at a later date the pictures of their injuries can be used as evidence (coupled with any swab exhibits taken from a medical examination).
“If there is a police investigation the images could be accepted as evidence but we have to be trained to use an approved camera.”
The camera can be used to record images anywhere on the body and means workers can do this vital work themselves rather than relying on outside bodies.
Crisis workers will also be trained how to store the printed images securely in case the victims of these attacks want to press ahead with a prosecution.
Miss Walker said: “I think it will be a massive help to people.
“We know rape and sexual or physical assaults are under-reported.
“This is another string to our bow and may help to encourage people to come forward.
“It is the victim’s choice whether they report an attack or not.
“I hope it will lead to increased convictions.
“It will hopefully make the victims feel more empowered .”
Call the free phone number on 0808 1782058 or visit their website at the-glade.org.uk.
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