Anger from victims of abuse as new centre opens to help 100 sex offenders back into society
One victim of sexual abuse called the move ‘a slap in the face’
A new centre which offers support and life skills to sex offenders who have been released from prison has opened in Nottingham.
The Corbett Centre for Prisoner Reintegration, which launched today, Monday, will help around 100 former prisoners and is described as the first of its kind in the UK.
Its aim is to reduce reoffending rates by helping ex-inmates reintegrate into society.
But the move has been criticised by victims of sexual abuse, with one calling it ‘a slap in the face’ when many survivors are struggling to access support services.
The project – at an unidentified city centre location – is being run by the Safer Living Foundation (SLF), a charity formed by HMP Whatton and the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University which offers support to people with sexual convictions.
Professor Belinda Winder, head of NTU’s Sexual Offences, Crime and Misconduct Research Unit, and co-founder of SLF, said: “I can’t emphasise enough how much we empathise with people who have suffered sexual abuse. But that’s why we’re doing this; to reduce reoffending.
“This important initiative will support our existing research to understand and prevent sexual abuse. It will also go a step further in encouraging us to apply our findings so that we can have a real impact on improving the safety of the public and preventing sexual crime.
“We know it’s really tough for some people to take on board. It’s a medicine which tastes foul. And there’s no way I would want to undermine in any way the need for more services for victims and survivors of sexual abuse.
“But if the public really can’t stomach it, it’s going to make it more difficult to offer this service.”
Through the new centre, SLF will offer support in three main areas:
* Lessons in life skills such as decorating, gardening and cooking;
* Practical help for employment and education, such as reading and writing, retraining, business management, self-employment and tax issues. People will also be able to meet with police and probation at the centre;
* Emotional support such as mindfulness and meditation sessions. There will also be religious services for people where it’s not appropriate for people to attend services in their own community.
The project is solely for sexual offenders who have been released from prison on licence. Reoffending rates for these former inmates are relatively low, at between 10% and 14%, but it’s hoped the scheme will reduce this even further.
In numbers: Child abuse investigations in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
The police investigation into historic abuse in children’s homes and foster care in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire has been running since 2010. As of October 2018, these are the key Operation Equinox statistics:
903 – The number of allegations of historic sexual or physical abuse that have been made so far. (This can include other locations outside of children’s homes and foster care.)
617 – The number of suspects.
275 – The number of suspects who have been identified.
379 – The number of people who have come forward with allegations.
22 – The number of children’s homes in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire being investigated by police (this includes one linked home in Derbyshire).
15 – The number of people who have been charged by police. The total number of prosecutions is 17, as two people have been charged twice.
13 – The number of convictions so far. Seven of these relate to abuse carried out in children’s homes.
3 – The number of not guilty verdicts.
1 – The number of cases still to come to court.