In my role as Solicitor General, I visit a number of different organisations connected with the criminal justice system to learn more about their work and meet employees and volunteers.
Last week I visited The Lighthouse in Camden, North London. This is a pioneering centre which is the country’s first dedicated service for children and young people who have been the victims of sexual abuse, and offers medical, investigative and emotional support all under one roof.
Young people from several London Boroughs who have experienced sexual abuse can now, for the first time, get full access to support from medical, policing and psychological experts all in one place, eliminating the need for victims to go through the trauma of repeating their statement several times to different agencies. If this template is proved to work and be effective it is hoped it can be a model that is expanded.
I also visited Victim Support, an independent charity throughout England and Wales that provides specialist practical and emotional support to victims and witnesses of crime. Their trained volunteers and employees offer free and confidential practical and emotional support to victims and witnesses of crime, and a free 24/7 telephone helpline offering confidential support and advice to anyone affected by crime in England and Wales.
Institutions like The Lighthouse and Victim Support carry out important work that will hopefully lead to improved outcomes and better support for those who have gone through the trauma of sexual abuse and other crimes.