Page last updated at 10:22 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 11:22 UK

Special team to help rape victims

A specialist dedicated police team has been set up in Bristol to exclusively respond to and deal with rape and serious sexual assaults.

As part of 12 month pilot the 21-strong team will work on any allegation of rape or serious sexual assault.

Specialist investigators will check out all reported offences including domestic rapes of women over the age of 14 and attacks from the past.

One of the aims of the new unit is to build trust in police for rape victims.

Forensic evidence

Det Insp Marie Wright said: "We are dedicated and committed to bringing offenders of rape and sexual assault to justice and ensuring that victims of this crime receive a specialist one-to-one service from the team.

"We are not only committed to bringing those offenders before the courts but also to ensure that we provide the highest level of investigation, service and care to victims of such crimes."

The new specialist team aims to promote trust and confidence in the police by raising conviction rates for rapes.

The unit will work closely with facilities like The Bridge which opened in February and provides forensic evidence collation, high quality health care, counselling and advocacy services to help victims deal with the trauma of rape.

"This helps us, working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, to ensure that the victim is as ready as they can be for the court process," said Det Insp Wright.

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