A woman has spoken of the horrific impact being sexually abused as a child has had on her, after her perpetrators were jailed last month
A new sexual assault referral centre (SARC) for Bedfordshire has been heralded as a centre of excellence in the provision of facilities for victims of rape and sexual assault.
A standalone, purpose-designed facility, it contains two state-of-the art, fully equipped forensic examination suites which, while being technically compliant, are designed to put victims at ease by having a less clinical ambience than a hospital or medical centre. The centre also boasts tailored facilities for adults, teens and children, and working spaces for SARC staff and police officers.
But roll the clock back three decades and you’d see a very different landscape in the investigation of such cases, and in victim care.
Bedfordshire Police has a dedicated Internet Child Abuse Investigation Team (ICAIT), which is responsible for investigating online child sexual abuse and prosecuting adults who make, possess and distribute indecent images of children.
The team currently consists of eight Investigation Officers, three Detective Constables, two Detective Sergeants and a Detective Inspector, along with a Victim Identification Officer.
During 2019, the team conducted 320 investigations, which resulted in more than 35 years’ total jail time for a number of offenders and around 700 devices being seized for examination.