Renovated Cadoxton House is base for Atal y Fro, Pen yr Enfys, Hafan Cymru, and live video court link
AGENCIES using Barry's £1.3m renovated Cadoxton House have welcomed the "wonderful" community facility, following its official opening on Monday (September 24).
The pioneering facility also houses the first community based, live video court link in Wales and England, enabling witnesses and victims to give evidence without travelling to court.
The Safer Vale Partnership-run community support centre, renovated courtesy of a Welsh Government grant, was opened by the Minister for Local Government and Communities Carl Sargeant AM.
The centre integrates a number of services under one roof with the aim of supporting people who experience alcohol misuse and domestic abuse and will be a focal point for information, advocacy and advice on issues relating to domestic abuse and substance misuse.
Agencies providing services at the centre include Victim Support, Pen-yr-Enfys (support agency for those who have, or may be developing alcohol or substance use problems), Atal-y-Fro (an organisation which works to eliminate domestic abuse) and Hafan Cymru (a housing association for women and children).
Atal-y-Fro director Kay Quinn said the facility was a wonderful addition to their Holton Road-based premises.
"There was a lot of heartache and hard work put into this," she said.
"And we have got the first court outreach service in the whole country.
"I am thrilled."
Luigi Strinati, head of crime for HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) Wales, said Cardiff & Vale of Glamorgan Magistrates’ Court has been able to link up to the community support centre in Barry via a live video link to deal with criminal trial cases since July.
"This is the first facility of its kind in England and Wales, providing prosecution and defence witnesses with an opportunity to give their evidence in a modern comfortable witness suite, in a safe and secure environment away from the court," he said.
"The live link aims to reduce waiting times and provide a less stressful and overall more positive experience for witnesses giving evidence in criminal cases."
Pen-yr-enfys director of alcohol and addiction, Steve James said: "There are a number of advantages.
"It's away from the main road, and we always had people feel embarrassed about walking in from the main road.
"We are looking forward to providing one point of engagement."
Carl Sargeant said he was delighted the Welsh Government was able to provide funding through the Substance Misuse and Domestic Abuse budgets.
He said: "This demonstrates my commitment, even in these difficult economic times, to ensure victims are supported here in the Vale of Glamorgan and across Wales.
"This multi agency facility allows victims of Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Substance Misuse to talk to professionals in safe, comfortable and confidential surroundings."
Vale Council leader, Cllr Neil Moore, who is also one of the ward councillors for Cadoc ward, said: "Alcohol misuse and domestic abuse are two issues which cause a great deal of damage – emotional and financial.
"This new centre sits at the centre of our community and provides the perfect base for professionals to work together, to tackle these and other important issues affecting local people, using a much more joined up approach than in the past."
During 2010/11, alcohol was an aggravating factor in a third or more of all domestic abuse referrals in 16 out of 23 Vale wards.