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Home Found For New 'Victim Support Centre'

A new sexual assault support centre for children and adults will be based on the site of the former Heathfield Children's home in St Saviour.

The new centralised victim hub will include a childhouse dedicated to young victims.

It's inspired by the Barnahus approach that was introduced in Iceland in 1998 to protect children during sexual abuse investigations.

Home Affairs Minister Deputy Gregory Guida says nine different sites were considered.

"There were two possibilities - one was in town and one was outside. We thought that the extra commute would be offset by the privacy of having it outside of town.

"Another decision is instead of just relocating the existing facilities, we've decided to redevelop it into something much larger so the plan now is to have a victims support centre and a childhouse.

"It's a much more ambitious project and it's a multi-agency project."

The aim to complete the project by 2023.

It would replace the existing facility at Dewberry House, which has been open since 2017.

Jersey Police has previously said that having a specialist facility for child victims of sexual abuse is likely to lead to more convictions.

Home Affairs Director-General Julian Blazeby says all victims will be supported from one hub.

"Of course there may be signposting from within that centre to other services, they won't necessarily all be there, but certainly the main core will be present and be able to, in effect, be a one-stop-shop which will prevent particularly children and young people from a Child house point of view having to repeat their traumatic experience to multiple agencies in different locations at different times."

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