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Children Get in the Festive Spirit with PCC

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Gwent joined local school children in Blackwood today to help them hang up the Christmas decorations they had made especially for the Connect Gwent victim's hub.

During this week, pupils from Libanus Primary School in Blackwood have been getting creative and have been busy making decorations in the classroom. This morning they joined Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert and staff at the Connect Gwent victim's hub to hang up the decorations they had made on the tree. The children also had the opportunity to meet local police officers at Blackwood station and got behind the wheel of a police patrol car. They were also shown where people who break the law are likely to end up this Christmas.   

Located next to Blackwood Police Station, Connect Gwent is the first multi-agency service of its kind in Wales and aims to provide positive and lasting support to all victims of crime. The service was launched in May 2015.

The visit today was organised by the Embrace charity, one of the referral agencies based at the victim's hub which specifically supports children and young people up to the age of 18 who are victims of crime. With the aim of building relationships with the community and highlighting the work that they do, Sarika Kerai, the Young Victims Services Officer for Embrace, worked with pupils on Monday to make the Christmas decorations which they then hung up on the tree with all the staff. Each pupil also inserted their own messages of hope inside a bauble.

10 year old Mia Edwards from Libanus Primary School shared her message with the Commissioner. Mia said: "My message was that I hope that all the children and their families in the world who don't have a home find somewhere safe."

Since Connect Gwent opened in May 2015, the Embrace charity has provided essential support to nearly 300 child victims of crime. This includes children who have been victims of sexual assault, harassment, bullying, theft and domestic violence. This year, all the people working at Connect Gwent have also decided to donate Christmas presents to children living in refuges.

Sarika Kerai from Embrace, said: "We wanted to get the children here to explain to them what we do and to provide them with the opportunity to write messages of hope to people who are less fortunate than themselves. It's about highlighting that there is support for children and young people who unfortunately become victims of crime or bullying." 

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: "One of my police and crime priorities for Gwent is to provide excellent support for all victims of crime with a particular focus on preventing further serious harm. This includes safeguarding some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our communities. For children and young people who have been badly affected by crime, Christmas can often be a very traumatic and unhappy time. This is why it is important to have the expertise of essential services such as Embrace who are based at Connect Gwent. The staff who work for Embrace have the skills and experience necessary to help young victims of crime to cope and recover."
 
For further information about the Connect Gwent victim's hub, please visit www.connectgwent.org.uk