Head of local policing for Warwickshire, Chief Superintendent, Alex Franklin-Smith, is commending two of Safeline’s Independent Sexual Violence Advisors, for the superb work they did in supporting a vulnerable young lady who was raped in her own home in Stratford-upon-Avon.
In 2014, this lady was raped at her flat in Stratford-upon-Avon and was left devastated, bewildered and humiliated. Her mental and physical health were severely affected and she threatened to self-harm and overdose on drugs. Because of her poor mental health, her account to the Police was initially inconsistent which impacted on the progress of the case.
Andy Smith was the Police officer in charge of the case and during the initial stages of the investigation, he made the decision to refer the victim to Safeline, a leading specialist charity based in Warwickshire, who offers services and support for sexual abuse victims.
Safeline employ their own Independent Sexual Violent Advisors (ISVAs), and it was due to the independent, emotional and practical support that the ISVAs gave to the victim, and their expertise and understanding about the effects of trauma, that she found the confidence to be able to fully support the Police investigation and subsequent judicial process.
Very few people will ever understand how distressing it is being a vulnerable victim or witness involved in a sexual violence trial, however, thanks to the support of the Safeline ISVA’s, this young lady remained strong enough to deal with the worries and pressures not only of the investigation itself but through two subsequent trials and the conviction.
The Safeline ISVAs were Melissa Horrocks, up until 2015, and after that Louise Rooney. Louise supported the victim through two trials and she is still in regular contact with her and continues to support her.
Andy Smith as OIC, attended numerous meetings with the victim and the ISVAs over two and half years so that everyone associated with the case was fully informed about the progress of the case.
Without doubt, if it wasn’t for the support of the ISVAs and Andy Smith, the victim wouldn’t have been able to cope with the rigours of the investigation and court case and it is because of this that it has been highlighted as a fantastic example of inter-agency working. The matter was finally concluded in 2017, following a second trial at the Crown Court, when the offender was finally found guilty and imprisoned for 8 years.
Melissa and Louise, have been commended by Chief Superintendent, Alex Franklin-Smith, for their professionalism, commitment, and support to a very vulnerable victim.
The Warwickshire Awards Commendation Ceremony will be held on Monday 9th October 2017.