On Monday, the 14th January, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne will be launching a week-long photographic exhibition at the Jubilee Library in Brighton to celebrate locally-funded victim support services. Here she talks about the project.
In 2015, Sussex led the way by establishing one of the first online directories of local victim support services, Safe: Space Sussex. This vital service makes it easier for victims of crime to find the help and support they need and I am using this week to raise awareness of it: http://www.safespacesussex.org.uk/
The exhibition will showcase six portraits of brave Sussex women who have regained their version of ‘A Life More Ordinary’, photographed in environments that they wouldn’t have been able to return to without the help of our local victim service providers.
For example, Norma suffered years of domestic abuse which left her completely lacking in self-confidence. She loved to sing and perform but had not been on stage for a long time. She was referred to Action on Elder Abuse and says her caseworker, Gail, has been her ‘guardian angel’ through her journey of recovery.
Norma’s story: "The last time he hit me was the straw that broke the camel's back. Somebody told me about Action on Elder Abuse. Gail has been my rock, my guardian angel. He was always jealous of me singing. I've not got dressed up like this for two years. I used to love singing here. Being back is like coming home."
Victims of crime often do not feel they have the freedom or self-confidence to go back to a new normality after what has happened to them. They need help and support on that journey of recovery but often don't know where to find it.
If you are in Brighton over the 14-20th January, please visit the Jubilee Library to view the stunning portraits and read these women’s inspiring stories.