A NEW crisis centre for women who have been the victim of rape and sexual assault officially opened today (Mon) in the Scottish Borders.
The Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre launched after the Scottish Borders Council and Rape Crisis Scotland identified a lack of a dedicated service for victims.
It aims to offer emotional and practical support and information to females over 12 who have experienced rape or sexual violence in their lives, including sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse.
Telephone support is also available to male survivors and to survivors’ families and friends.
The centre is the latest in a network of 13 throughout Scotland.
Sandy Brindley, national co-ordinator for Rape Crisis Scotland, said: “Rape Crisis Scotland is delighted to welcome the launch of this vital new service for survivors of sexual violence in the Scottish Borders.
“Sexual violence is a crime which can have a devastating impact.
“It is crucial that survivors have access to specialist support.”
Detective Chief Inspector Linda Ormiston, Lothian and Borders Police, is a member of the original steering group and now a volunteer trustee.
She emphasised the importance of partnership between the police and other agencies in keeping the victim at the centre of any investigation and welcomed the new service as a way to identify and meet the individual needs of survivours of rape and sexual assault.
The centre opened in July after receiving funding from the Scottish Government to aid its development.
There are currently 10 trained volunteer support workers and nine volunteer trustees drawn from within the Borders.
Solicitor General for Scotland, Frank Mulholland QC, said he was delighted to officially open the centre.
He said: “This facility is providing vital support and services to victims of sexual crime.
“The investigation and prosecution of sexual crime is given the highest priority by the police and Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
“The specialist approach of the National Sexual Crimes Unit and the Area Sexual Offences teams throughout the country is making a significant difference to the investigation and prosecution of such crimes.”