A NORTH-EAST expert in tackling sexual violence has been drafted in by the Foreign Office to share he knowledge on the problem.

Wendy Shepherd is one of 70 specialists who will be working on The Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) was launched by the Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The team is made up of police officers, lawyers, psychologists, doctors, forensic experts, gender-based violence experts and experts in the care and protection of survivors and witnesses.

Mrs Shepherd, Barnardo's North-East children's service manager, said: “Sexual violence is abhorrent and especially when it is used as a weapon of war. I have managed projects which deal with sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and human trafficking and I want to use my skills to do more to combat this terrible crime.”

Members of the Team can be deployed to conflict areas overseas to support UN missions and local civil society to investigate allegations of sexual violence, gather evidence and help build the capabilities of other nations.