AN AWARD-WINNING charity which supports those affected by rape and sexual abuse opened new offices yesterday [October 21].

Around 100 people turned out for the official opening of the New Pathways charity offices based in the High Street, Newport.

The charity opened the new hub to cope with growing demand after figures showed victim reports had risen by around 30 per cent in 12 months, taking the total number of referrals to 2,299.

Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner Ian Johnston and local government minister Lesley Griffiths attended an official ceremony held at Newport Civic Centre.

Ms Griffiths said: “I was very impressed with the work of New Pathways and their commitment to establish the new rape crisis and sexual abuse support centre in Newport.

“The specialist and tailored services provided there are vital to ensure victims of rape and sexual abuse receive appropriate support and advice.”

Mr Johnston said: “With New Pathways, sexual assault victims can be assured and confident they have access to the best services and facilities as well as support.”

New Pathways has a dedicated team of around 70 staff and 60 volunteers, including therapists providing crisis support, pre-court therapy and counselling.

The Welsh Government provided £20,000 for the centre refurbishment and support to the charity, which has won business and enterprise awards.