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Statue is for abuse victims

PUBLISHED: 10:41 26 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:53 23 August 2010

A STATUE that aims to raise awareness of the scale, scope and cost of sexual violence on society has been unveiled by a charity. Family Matters, based in Wrotham Road, Gravesend, is the largest specialist counselling service in the UK working with victim

A STATUE that aims to raise awareness of the scale, scope and cost of sexual violence on society has been unveiled by a charity.

Family Matters, based in Wrotham Road, Gravesend, is the largest specialist counselling service in the UK working with victims of sexual abuse.

Vernon Coaker, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Crime Reduction at the Home Office, was due to unveil the sculpture outside the charity's office yesterday as the Reporter went to press.

Commissioned by Family Matters, Crayford-based artist John Exell created the piece from breeze blocks to depict a lone figure in anguish and conflict.

Malcolm Gilbert, the general manager of Family Matters, said: "One of the most worrying aspects of our work is the amount of isolation we see experienced by victims of rape and sexual abuse.

"Added to that, there is the large number of cases that go unreported. We are delighted to have Vernon Coaker come to Kent to raise these important issues and to unveil what we hope will be a talking point and something that perhaps helps to break down a few barriers."

Mr Coaker was then expected to speak to an audience at Gravesham Civic Centre, Windmill Street, about the impact of rape and sexual abuse and the work the government is doing in providing support frameworks for those affected. The event was also held to highlight the work the charity does in partnership with Kent Police and the Darenth Valley Sexual Abuse Referral Centre. They help to ensure there is adequate support for victims of sexual abuse and a clear path for them to follow in finding a way forward.

Last month, Family Matters, which helps people across north Kent and south east London, and is mainly funded through charitable donations, were awarded £2,500 from the Kent Peoples Trust.

To find out more about Family Matters visit www.familymattersuk.org.

If you are a victim of sex abuse contact the hotline on 01474 537392.

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