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Taking victims’ message to corridors of power - mental health activist Sarah Barrett’s latest Journal column

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 July 2016

Sarah Barrett.  PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Sarah Barrett. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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I’m amazed to say that I’ve been asked to join a victims’ forum that’s chaired by Keir Starmer, who is the former director of public prosecutions and a current Labour MP.

I’ll be travelling down to the Houses of Parliament on July 4 and joining other victims and survivors of crime to help with policy decisions about the Victims of Crime Bill and victims’ rights.

The panel has been running for some time and I know that Doreen Lawrence - mother of Stephen Lawrence - has sat on this panel in the past, so it’s a pretty big deal and a huge honour.

Back in May, we briefly met with Keir when he was campaigning for the local elections and told him about the things I’d been campaigning for mental health service improvements.

The forum was mentioned at the time but I didn’t really know whether these were kind words or a real invitation.

However it turns out Mr Starmer (pictured right) was as good as his word and I’m now officially on the panel.

I’m so pleased that I’m being given this opportunity to give a voice to younger people who are victims of crime. I never imagined when I started talking to The Journal that I would be given these kinds of opportunities.

It’s all a bit overwhelming and terrifying. I’m certain I’m going be very anxious but for once, I can honestly say: “So would anyone!”

My mum has also been asked to sit on the panel and she’s hoping to raise the profile of carers who look after victims of crime and the economic and social implications of crime on families and carers.

Between us, we’re going to have a lot to say!

Sarah Barrett is a mental health activist from Southwold who has been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.


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