The new High Sheriff of North Yorkshire has pledged to highlight the role of organisations that support domestic abuse victims, particularly children.

Dr Ruth Smith took over the centuries-old role from artist Clare Granger at a swearing-in ceremony at York Crown Court.

Three judges listened as she outlined her priorities as a King’s representative in North Yorkshire following her appointment by King Charles III.

Dr Smith said children who witness or are subject to domestic abuse can have their development affected. They can have problems at school leading to them being permanently excluded from school, they can suffer mental health problems including depression and anxiety and can self-harm or become suicidal.

A significant number, she said, end up in the criminal justice system.

She pledged to support organisations and charities that help those of all ages who have suffered domestic abuse and to raise awareness of their work.

She will also work with organisations that help those with mental health problems.

Dr Smith of Harrogate will hold the position for a year.

The ceremony at York Crown Court was presided over by the Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris.

Sitting with him on the bench in Courtroom One were fellow crown court judge, Judge Simon Hickey and the Designated Family Judge for North Yorkshire Judge Jill Troy.

The Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Johanna Ropner watched as the incoming High Sheriff took her oath of office and the outgoing High Sheriff handed over her medal of office.