WITH VIDEO: A teenage rape victim has praised support workers who helped her give evidence to see her attacker jailed.
A 19-year-old from Eastbourne, named only as Demi, has been filmed in a video praising the help she received from Sussex’s Young Victim’s Service.
In the video she said: “When I was 14 I was sexually assaulted by my friend’s dad and I first came into contact with the Witness Service when I went to the police.”
Demi said that her case worker Angela had helped her through the process of taking her attacker to court and seeing him convicted.
Demi said: “I don't think I would have been able to do it without my case worker Angela. Before I met her I didn't know anything about being in court. I did everything with Angela – the pre-court visit, finding out about giving evidence via video link and it helped a lot. I didn’t want to sit in court knowing he was in the same room as me. My mum was a witness so I would have been in court on my own.
“After he got found guilty and after the court case, I had the option if I still wanted support.”
Angela, who was Demi’s case worker for two years while her case was being brought to court, said: “I’ve got children of my own so I'm always thinking ‘How would I feel if it was them giving evidence in court?’ I know I would want them to have the best support possible.
“I was the only case worker Demi dealt with throughout so I was able to build up a rapport with her, which was very important when she was understandably nervous. I think it was a terrifying experience but she gave a lot of herself to it. I’m very happy that she’s such a confident young woman now and I hope the young witness service has supported her to be so.”
Sussex is one of only seven police force areas in the country to offer a young witness service.