A NEW centre designed to deal specifically with people who have suffered sexual assaults has opened in the area.
The sexual assault referral centre or Millfield House as it has been named is a joint initiative between Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire Rape Crisis.
The centre, renovated by Miller Homes and its contractors, will allow victims to provide forensic evidence at an early stage even if they are not sure whether they want to make a formal police complaint.
That evidence can then be stored and used if the complainant decides to proceed.
The official opening of the centre was held on Monday. Speaking at the ceremony, Detective Chief Superintendent David Gee, said: "This centre has taken a tremendous amount of effort. Without the help of Chris Endsor of Miller Homes, this centre could not have been opened."
Det Ch Supt Gee added: "This sexual assault referral centre will refresh the police's approach to victim care in sexual assault cases.
"In partnership with Derbyshire Rape Crisis victims can approach officers in the safe knowledge that their complaint will be treated seriously and professionally including after-care and counselling where appropriate.
"In the past people wanting to make a complaint of this nature have had to face lots of waiting around in police stations until an appropriate officer can be made available to see them.
Jazz Kang, project manager for Derbyshire Rape Crisis, said: "The launch of this centre will make a massive difference to victims.
"It will give them time to come to terms with the trauma of a sexual assault safe in the knowledge that evidence is being gathered at an early stage to assist a prosecution.
"This is a huge step forward in the right direction and we're hoping more people who experience a sexual assault will come forward. I'd like to thank Derbyshire police and everyone who's been involved in getting this centre launched."
Anyone who has been subject of a sexual assault can ring Derbyshire police on 0845 123 33 33 or alternatively Millfield House on 0845 129 0111.