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New rape crisis centre opens in Sussex

The centres will offer support, counselling and advice Credit: PA

A new rape crisis centre to support victims of sexual violence is to be opened in Sussex.

The centre in Crawley, will offer access to expert advice, support and counselling and help with the practicalities of the criminal justice system.

It will be given a £300,000 a year budget to offer specialist support to hundreds of victims of sexual crime.

As well as face-to-face counselling, the centre will offer support groups, female-only safe spaces and counselling through online video conferencing service Skype.

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said: "I want women to know that if they ever suffer the horrific ordeal of rape or sexual assault that they will be offered all of the expert advice and support they need to rebuild their lives and put the perpetrator behind bars.

Following the Coalition Agreement in 2010, fifteen new centres have been established across the country, including Reading, Southend, and Poole.

Yvonne Trainer from the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre, which is opening the Crawley centre, said: "We cannot express how grateful we are to the Ministry of Justice for giving us the opportunity to open a new Rape Crisis Centre in Crawley. This will be the first centre in the West Sussex area and fills a massive gap of provision for women and girls who have suffered from sexual violence."


Woman in her eighties punches attacker in the mouth

The woman was shaken but unhurt Credit: ITV

A woman in her eighties has fought off an attacker by punching him in the mouth.

Police are appealing for information following the incident that occurred in an alleyway between Bellevue Road and Invicta Road, Whitstable at around 7.20am this morning (Sunday, 14 September 2014).

A woman in her eighties was walking her dog when it is reported she was approached by a man who grabbed her. The woman fought off the suspect and it is believed she may have punched him in the mouth when doing so.

The suspect was said to be dressed in black with a hoody tied up to hide his mouth and nose. It is thought he may have grey hair. After the incident he left the alleyway in the direction of the Crab and Winkle Way.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Fotheringham is overseeing the investigation, he said:

‘It appears the suspect has picked on this wrong person in this instance and she was able to bravely fight him off.

‘I would like to hear from anyone who has information in relation to this incident. Do you know anyone who may have been out when the assault occurred and returned home with a facial injury? If anyone can help with this investigation, please call Kent Police.’

Motorcyclist killed in horror crash

The man died at the scene Credit: PA

A man has died after his motorbike crashed on the A20 at Hollingbourne in Kent.

The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene following the smash at 9.45 this morning (Sunday). No other vehicles were involved.

Emergency crews raced to the scene but were unable to save the man.

The A20 was closed from the M20 junction 8 roundabout and traffic on the A20 was diverted via the overpass.

The man's family have been informed.

Anyone who witnessed the crash or has any information that may help police should call the serious collision investigation unit on 01622 798538.

Capturing a moment: Oxford photography festival opens

It's hoped the festival will become a regular event Credit: Oxford Photography Festival

Thousands of people are expected to visit Oxford over the coming weeks for its first photography festival.

Taking place in more than 20 venues over the next three weeks, the organisers hope it will attract a new audience to some of the world's most exciting photographers and striking images.

Broadhead's work celebrates the art of Johannes Vermeer Credit: Maisie Maud Broadhead
The Souvenirs exhibition looks at how we use photos as keepsakes Credit: Clarita Lulic

The event also features some of the winning pictures from this year's World Press Photo Awards

Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines Credit: Philippe Lopez

Drew Garner's exhibition, "Descendants" recreates portraits of famous people using family members. Gardner tracked down actual descendants of historic figures, and the results are very striking- among the works, below, are Oliver Cromwell, Charles II and Napolean.

Oliver Cromwell and his descendant Credit: Drew Gadner
Charles II and his descendant Credit: Andrew Gardner
Napolean and his direct descendant Credit: Drew Gardner

There's also an opportunity to see some rare, unseen images, including one of Hitler practising his poses for speech making.

An image of Hitler practising his speeches Credit: Heinrich Hoffmann

During the festival a pop-up drive-in cinema in east Oxford will also show films with themes around photography.

Screenings including Alfred Hitchcock's thriller, Rear Window and One Hour Photo starring the late Robin Williams.

The free festival runs until 5 October. Supported by Arts Council England, the festival is expected to become a biennial event

Cash boost for crime fighting via Smartphone technology

Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Police are developing the technology Credit: PA

A project to develop digital methods for the public to contact police, is being developed by Hampshire and the Thames Valley forces.

Two million pounds of funding has come from a UK government innovation fund.

The forces will use the money to develop new apps for smart phones and tablets and a text service for people to report crime and incidents to them.

The new means of contact is aimed to complement calling 101 or going into a police station.

The money will also be spent on text and speech analytics and advanced mapping to give call handlers detailed information about the person contacting them and their location.

The forces plan to have the new services up and running from 2015.


Flotilla farewell to Portland coastguard station

Operations are moving from Portland to Hampshire Credit: HM Coastguard

A flotilla of vessels has sailed into Weymouth to say farewell to Portland coastguard station.

The station, which co-ordinates search and rescue services, is being replaced by the National Maritime Operations Centre in Hampshire.

The closure of the centre, which has been based on the quayside for 35 years, has been strongly criticised.

The vessels sailed from Weymouth, up the harbour to the coastguard office on the quayside saluted by cannon fire from Nothe Fort.

Organiser of the flotilla Roger Macpherson said: "It's purely a thank you for the 35 years of service."

The new Maritime Operations Centre in Segensworth, will be run alongside nine other 24-hour bases around the UK.

The government claims the move will "modernise" the service and cut costs.

The coastguard helicopter based at Portland is due to be replaced by a regional service in 2017.

There's been strong opposition to the plans Credit: ITV

Port of Dover mock exercise goes with a bang

Residents were told not to be alarmed by sound of explosives Credit: PA

A major exercise involving mock explosions and sounds of gunfire has been taking place at the Port of Dover.

The exercise, involving port staff and police, began during the night and finished early this morning

The port said it will involve testing of tactics for dealing with emergency situations.

Supt Andrea Bishop, from Kent Police, said the port was of "huge strategic importance" and the exercise was "vital".

Tim Waggott: Chief Executive, Port of Dover, said: “Such exercises, which we conduct from time to time with our partners, are extremely important in ensuring that we proactively prepare for any eventuality. As Europe’s busiest ferry port, it is vital that we keep the safety and security of all those who work in and travel through the Port at the forefront of our operations.”

The exercise involved all emergency services Credit: PA- Library Picture

Have you seen this painting? Artwork stolen from Church

Thames Valley Police is appealing for information about a painting that's been stolen from a church in Buckinghamshire.

The eighteen inch oil painting was taken from the Holy Cross Church in the village of Slapton last month.

It was donated by a local family more than thirty years ago.

The stolen painting Credit: Thames Valley Police

It has been marked with Smartwater DNA linking it to the church.

Anyone who has seen the painting or knows its whereabouts is asked to contact Thames Valley Police via the Police Enquiry Centre, quoting 431/401/80525.

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