Remote victim and witness suite opens in Brighton & Hove
On 21 November the third remote court link for victims and witnesses in Sussex was opened in Brighton & Hove.
Following the success of the West Sussex suite in 2017, £72,000 of further funding was secured by Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, through the Video Enabled Justice programme, to expand this service to East Sussex (opened August 2019) and then Brighton & Hove.
Victims and witnesses across the whole county are now able to give evidence in a safe and secure environment without having to travel vast distances or have the fear of facing their perpetrators in court.
Mrs Bourne comments: “These video links are a huge step towards ensuring that victims and witnesses are truly at the heart of the criminal justice system. I fund vital local support services that work closely with our most vulnerable and use these suites regularly. They tell me that being able to offer a remote and safe environment ensures that they are not overwhelmed whilst giving evidence and therefore have a fairer opportunity of achieving justice.”
The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children has helped create homely and welcoming environments within the suites. They kindly donated comfortable seating and soft furnishings, and an extensive range of high quality resources, art and craft supplies, games, relaxation toys and books.
Mrs Bourne adds: “I want to thank The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children for their generous donations that have helped to transform these suites for the vulnerable people who use them.”
The Bright Spaces are designed to help victims feel at ease and relax, to enable them to provide their best evidence to secure criminal convictions and justice against the perpetrators of abuse.
The project was made possible by a combination of local fundraising by Bright Horizons Crawley Nursery who raised £1,200 by taking part in the 25K Thames Bridge Trek in September, and a grant from the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.
Tracy Wilkes-Green, the Foundation’s Bright Space Manager says: “We are delighted to have opened these Bright Spaces and hope they will positively impact the vital work across Sussex in keeping vulnerable people safe and supported.”
Detective Chief Inspector Emma Vickers from Sussex Police’s Safeguarding Investigation Unit said: “We would like to thank the Bright Horizons Foundation for their generous donation. We are committed to ensuring the best possible experience for our vulnerable victims and their work has helped this enormously.”