A LEADING sexual trauma expert has been drafted in to provide extra support to a team of detectives investigating abuse at a former North-East detention centre.
Psychotherapist Zoe Lodrick visited the Durham Constabulary Police headquarters at Aykley Heads yesterday morning (Wednesday, February 12) to help Operation Seabrook – one of the largest investigations of its kind centred on Medomsley Detention Centre, near Consett.
Ms Lodrick produced a video for victims and spoke to officers on how best to deal with the effects of listening to the horrific stories of abuse victims suffered.
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Her visit came as police revealed that more than 400 confirmed victims had come forward since a new investigation was launched last August, into claims of sexual and physical abuse at the Home Office-run centre between the late 1960s and mid 1980s.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Wayne Barrigan said: “Zoe Lodrick has been speaking to officers on how to deal with hearing repetitive stories of trauma.
“It can have a knock-on effect on officers without them even realising it.
“So it was to make us aware and to be able to cope with the information we are coming across, for the long-term.”
He added: “What what we also identified through our inquiries is that a lot of victims are feeling shame and guilt about why they allowed the abuse to happen to them.
“Zoe has produced a video help them understand that what they did was a normal human reaction in the circumstances.
“We plan to put a webcast on our website and on YouTube, where victims can access that in their own time.”
Ms Lodrick said: “The webcast will explain why survivors or victims of sexual abuse - particularly the kind of abuse that happened at Medomsley - often feel very guilty and ashamed and feel responsible.
“It’s to help them understand why.
“Logically it would make sense to fight, run, scream or tell someone, and (it’s to say) why victims of sexual abuse hardly ever do that.
“It’s just to help people forgive themselves, because so many survivors of child abuse and torture never forgive themselves.”
She added: “Victims rarely react the way they might expect. Shock, horror and normal human survival reactions will frequently result in a passive defensive reaction.”
A previous police investigation led to the conviction of prison officer Neville Husband, who was jailed for ten years for sexually abusing several teenagers at the Medomsley. He died of natural causes after being released from prison.