VICTIMS of sexual assault and rape are to receive support at two new specialist facilities in rural Wales.
Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon has secured £121,000 in Government funding to create the rape crisis centres. They are due to open in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, and Newtown, Powys before next summer. Mr Salmon said: “Victims of rape and sexual assault are highly vulnerable; I am committed to providing improved facilities and care to support them. “These facilities will ensure that victims of these horrific crimes will not have to travel excessive distances to receive the support they need. “I’m delighted that we’ve secured this grant from the Ministry of Justice PCC Competed Fund.” The Dyfed-Powys Police force area, covering more than half of Wales, has one specialist Sexual Assault Referral Centre. Based in Carmarthen, it services the whole of the region. Mr Salmon, in partnership with Wales-based charity New Pathways, will use the grant to refurbish two premises used by Dyfed-Powys Police to create the Rural Satellite Rape Crisis Centres. Based at Newtown Police Station and a property in Bow Street, Aberystwyth, they will ensure that victims in Ceredigion and Powys have access to a local facility. Currently some victims can face a round journey of up to five hours. The centres will have a medical examination room and be supported by a New Pathways crisis worker. Mr Salmon said: “Victims will be able to access immediate specialist help. The services will have a significant effect on the psychological and physical wellbeing of victims. “Each person will have a full assessment of their needs, and the on-going support provided by New Pathways and Dyfed Powys Police will be tailored to the individual.” Dyfed-Powys Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Pam Kelly said: “Victims of rape and sexual assault deserve the very best service and support. This funding will make an enormous difference to victims living in our rural communities. Specialist support for victims of rape and sexual assault will also assist us in bringing offenders to justice.” New Pathways Chief Executive Jackie Stamp said: “We’re delighted this funding has been granted to the Commissioner. “It’s vital these services are provided locally where they’re so badly needed. We’ll work with Dyfed Powys Police and Mr Salmon to ensure that people affected by rape or sexual abuse get the support they deserve.”