St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre 14th Annual Conference

WHEN: Thursday April 21st and Friday April 22nd

WHERE: Midland Hotel, Manchester


Improving services and creating greater understanding of the issues surrounding rape and sexual violence against children and young people is the focus of the St Mary’s Centre’s 15th annual conference which will take place at the Midland Hotel, Manchester on April 21st and 22nd.

Speakers over the course of the two-day event will include leading practitioners and research experts working the field of rape and sexual violence. All speakers will be sharing their knowledge, experience and good practice with around 200 delegates from across the UK and abroad.

Key issues under discussion will be learning lessons of the past including recent successful prosecutions of child sexual exploitation cases in Greater Manchester’s Rochdale area, improvements in how children and young people are treated through the criminal justice process as well as improvements to be made in how services are provided and delivered.

The conference will open with a short film capturing the voices of children and young people on their experience of sexual assault and the services at St Mary’s Centre.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins
  • Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders
  • Child Protection Officer for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Dr Geoff Debelle
  • Former CEO of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, Hilary Eldridge
  • Dr Nina Burrowes, Psychologist specializing in sexual abuse

The conference will comprise main plenary sessions and workshops covering a wide range of subjects from self-harm, police interview techniques, information sharing among professionals and the gathering of forensic evidence.

Dr Catherine White, Clinical Director of the St Mary’s Centre, said: “The purpose of this Conference is for practitioners working in the field of rape and sexual violence to gain increased knowledge and understanding so they can improve their practice so that children and young people who have experienced abuse receive the best quality care.

“I am delighted that services across the UK and abroad will be able to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of such a large number of high quality speakers and contributors.”

Opening the conference will be Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd. He said: “We’ve come a long way in Greater Manchester towards ensuring victims of rape and sexual violence are given a voice in the criminal justice system and that their needs are at its heart. St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre provides an invaluable service to women, men and children, treating them with dignity and respect and supporting them to rebuild their lives.

“This conference is a platform to showcase this work but, importantly, it’s also a call to action for those who work with vulnerable victims, particularly children and young people, to work together and continue to transform support services. This is key to instilling confidence in every victim and survivor of sexual violence that they will be listened to and will be believed.”

2016 marks St Mary’s Centre’s 30 anniversary year and 10 years since its child service was established. Our national conference is just one of many key events that are taking place throughout the year to mark the significant milestone in the Centre’s history. Further information can be found on our website or Twitter and Facebook.

This conference is open to the media. Please find attached a conference programme.

Registration is between 0830 and 900 on days one and two.

Please confirm attendance in advance.

Interviews with speakers can be arranged. Media Contact: Charlotte Batra, Public Relations, 07932 919573

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