UK's first support centre set up for student crime victims
A support centre for students who have been victims of crime is being set up at a university.
The joint venture between Loughborough University, the students' union and national charity Victim Support, was launched yesterday.
Loughborough is the first university to establish a Victim Support Outreach Centre.
Four other universities are set to follow and the initiative is eventually expected to be rolled out nationwide.
The support centre will be staffed by students and based at the students' union.
Louise Grove, a lecturer in criminology and social policy, and one of the people behind the scheme, said: "The project is about giving victims of crime on campus more support.
"If a student has his/her laptop stolen just before exams or coursework deadlines, where do they go for that extra bit of support?
"The idea is to give students peer support that is emotional and practical.
"Students tend not to report crimes to the police, or authority figures, so they don't always access the support available.
"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.
"It's the first project in the country like this but another four universities are going to test it and they are hoping to take it nationwide."
Ten students have been trained to help victims and another group is going through the training process.
Help will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 4.30pm and 7.30pm and by phone at other times.
Students need to book and can phone the Leicester branch of Victim Support for a referral, on 0116 2493 328.