COMMENT: So reassuring that help is at hand for these victims

Next to murder, rape and sexual abuse are the worst of crimes. But abuse comes in many forms, and behind closed doors, hidden from the rest of society, many men and women suffer violence at the hands of their partners.

There may be a feeling of shame attached to all these crimes. Maybe the pain and shock lead to numbness, and maybe sometimes a reluctance to confront the horrors, both mental and physical, these brutal offences can bring.

When crimes are reported the police will do their job, and victim support officers will offer comfort to those who have suffered.

Hopefully they will bring the offenders to justice.

But for victims, the story does not end there.

Physical scars can take time to heal but mental scars may last forever, and that is where charities like Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (Parcs)  come in.

They provide invaluable support to survivors of rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and even child sexual exploitation.

So it is fantastic news that they have secured new premises in which to continue their vital and valuable work.

Their old offices were crumbling and not fit for purpose. A loan from the Charity Bank has now enabled them to buy new premises which they are calling Diana House, in honour of the charity’s founder,Diana Warren-Holland.

Now the charity needs to raise £20,000 to fund the centre, which will be used as a place of safety and a refuge for counselling sessions.

There will surely be many people who owe a debt of gratitute to Parcs, and the help they have offered at a time of great personal crisis.

Many others will be glad to know that Parcs is there to offer help when it is needed, and we are sure the appeal will gain widespread support.