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Crime prevention minister Norman Baker supports Norwich’s Magdalene Group project

PUBLISHED: 10:53 25 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:53 25 September 2014

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker on his visit to The Magdalene Group, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker on his visit to The Magdalene Group, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2014

A government minister has given his backing to a Norfolk charity project which is helping to protect youngsters from child sexual exploitation.

The Magdalene Group, Norwich that amongst other things offer a befriending service to children who are at risk or are being sexually exploited online. Pictured left to right Adele Sutton, Siobhan Ashwell, Suzi Heybourne, Claire Wyatt and Sara Plastow. Photo: Steve AdamsThe Magdalene Group, Norwich that amongst other things offer a befriending service to children who are at risk or are being sexually exploited online. Pictured left to right Adele Sutton, Siobhan Ashwell, Suzi Heybourne, Claire Wyatt and Sara Plastow. Photo: Steve Adams

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker was in Norwich to see for himself how a Magdalene Group project was helping young people affected by child sexual exploitation.

The Rose Project, which stands for Reaching Out on Sexual Exploitation, is a three-year Lottery-funded scheme which aims to help young people stay safe from sexual abuse, be it online or offline.

Mr Baker said: “I’m very pleased to be here with the Magdalene Group and impressed by the work they do which I think is crucial to protect children in Norfolk.”

Mr Baker, who also visited Norfolk’s multi-agency safeguarding hub and met Norfolk’s chief constable Simon Bailey, also the national policing lead for child sexual exploitation, said the voluntary sector had a “very important” role to play as those affected might be more prepared to speak to charities rather than authority figures.

The Magdalene Group, Norwich that amongst other things offer a befriending service to children who are at risk or are being sexually exploited online. Photo: Steve AdamsThe Magdalene Group, Norwich that amongst other things offer a befriending service to children who are at risk or are being sexually exploited online. Photo: Steve Adams

But while the Lib Dem MP for Lewes was happy to give the thumbs -up to the work of the King Street-based Magdalene Group he was more cautious over the future of police and crime commissioners, which coalition politicians have vowed to scrap as part of the Lib Dem election manifesto.

Mr Baker, who indicated a decision as to whether it will be in their manifesto is set to be taken at the upcoming Lib Dem Party conference, said: “There is a view in the party in some quarters that PCCs haven’t worked – I don’t think that Shaun Wright in South Yorkshire has done them any favours – and some think they have worked. Personally, I think it’s a bit mixed.

“You will get some that are good and some that are not.”

Mr Baker said it “wouldn’t be appropriate” to comment on whether Stephen Bett, Norfolk’s commissioner, was doing a good job.

Have you got a crime story? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk


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