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29 October 2012 | PR 12/185

Loughborough University sets up support centre for crime victims

Louise Grove and Mark Wilson

University lecturer Louise Grove and Mark Wilson from Victim Support.

Loughborough University is to set up a support centre for students who have been victims of crime.

The joint venture between the University, the Loughborough Students Union, and Victim Support, a national charity, and supported by the University’s Development Trust, will be launched tomorrow.

Loughborough is the first university to establish a Victim Support Outreach Centre but four others are set to follow their lead and the initiative is expected to be rolled out nationwide.

The support centre will be staffed by Loughborough University students and based at the Students Union.

Ten students have already been trained to offer counselling and support and another group is currently going through the training process.

Support will be available at the Union on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4.30pm and 7.30pm in meeting rooms A and C. Students can pop in and ask to speak to someone, and can also telephone the Leicester branch of Victim Support on 0116 2493 328 for a referral.

A pilot scheme in the community was run last year when valuable lessons were learned.

Louise Grove, a Loughborough University lecturer in Criminology and Social Policy, who is one of the people behind it, said: “The project is about getting victims of crime on campus more support.

“They already have access to counselling, security, all that. But there is a gap where if they want to talk about the crime and the affect it has had on them.

“If a student has his/her laptop stolen just before exams, or course-work deadlines, where do they go for that extra bit of support?

“The idea is to give students peer support, emotional and practical. Students tend not report crimes to the police, or authority figures, so they don’t always access the support available to them.

“So it’s about encouraging them to come forward and talk to someone and get some peer support. Perhaps that’s less intimidating for them.

“It also gives students an opportunity to volunteer for Victim Support, which is great for their cvs and they can get some fantastic experience.

“It’s the first project in the country like this but another four universities are going to trial it, and they are hoping to take it nationwide.”

Dr Grove says that burglary is common in students’ shared houses and students also suffer assaults in the town centre at night.

She added: “We know that students do get disproportionately targeted for some crimes.

“Although Loughborough is one of the safer places to study we do still have victims.

“Victim Support also tell us that international students are very unlikely to come forward to the police so we are very keen to support them.”

Dr Grove is delighted to see the project up and running but added: “The real test now is what is going to be the demand for the service?

“We will be keeping figures over the next academic year to see what the uptake is. That is going to be the really exciting thing to see.”

Mick Studley, divisional manager for Victim Support in Leicestershire said: “There is always a reason why people don’t always want to speak to the police and it’s important that there is a way they can get support without having to go through hoops to get things recorded.

“It’s a confidential thing and they don’t always want everyone to know how they became a victim.”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Chris Goddard
Public Relations Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223491
E: C.J.Goddard@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the Best Student Experience in England every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 12 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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