Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

A SARC is a building where victims of serious sexual violence such as rape receive a high-quality professional response to their needs, whether medical or otherwise. SARCS are now a recognised effective first step towards recovery from the trauma of a sexual assault and there are many established centres in England and Wales.

Call The Bridgeway SARC on 0808 118 6432

What Happens at the SARC?
You will be met at The Bridgeway (SARC) by a Crisis Worker who will make you welcome and explain the procedures to you and take any necessary information regarding the rape or sexual assault.

The Crisis Worker will consider using an ‘Early Evidence Kit’ if appropriate. This allows us to secure forensic evidence that might be lost if you had something to eat or drink, wanted to brush your teeth or needed to use the toilet before a medical examination takes place.

If you decide to have a medical examination this will be conducted by a trained clinician and the Crisis worker will be in the room with you and will help the medical practitioner to label and package any samples so that they can be analysed at a laboratory later for evidence of the offender. For detail about the medical examination see the separate Q&A section.

If the police are not involved you can decide whether you want the SARC to store any samples in case you change your mind.
In some circumstances, you may also agree to some samples being submitted for analysis anonymously.

The medical professional will also assess whether you need emergency contraception or treatment against the risk of infection.

The Crisis Worker, together with any other professional involved and after discussion with you will consider what other welfare, health or protection needs you may have and will start to work with you to ensure that appropriate referrals are made to agencies that can help.

Before you leave the SARC we will ensure that any follow-up treatment you need is planned and arranged and that you can see an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) to help you through the aftermath of the attack.

I Don't Want to Report, Can You Still Help?
If you are certain that you do not wish to report the attack to the Police, we can still provide you with help and support. You have experienced a traumatic event and may need emotional support to come to terms with what has happened to you.

You may need medical treatment or want to put your mind at rest by making sure that you have not been given an STI, you may also require emergency contraception.

Staff at The Bridgeway can respond to your immediate needs whilst you make your decision about what if anything you want to do next.

Another option that the The Bridgeway can offer is for you to provide forensic evidence if you want the police to be able to catch this person should they re-offend, even if you don’t feel able to report the person yourself.

In other words, you may want to submit information anonymously for intelligence purposes (to help Police without being identified). We can assist you to do this.

What Happens After SARC?
We will have worked with you to assess your ongoing needs and began to arrange appointments before you leave. It may be that you need some further treatment regarding your sexual health, counselling, help with your housing or the support of an ISVA.  Whatever you need we will do our best to support you in getting it.
Independant Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA)
An ISVA is a trained specialist whose goal is to ensure appropriate support, safety and wellbeing of clients who have experienced sexual violence or abuse.

The service an ISVA provides includes:

  • Initial assessment of the support that you need.
  • Drawing up of a care plan and involvement of any other partner agencies required.
  • Confidential and impartial advice that is not linked to the police.
  • Regular and ongoing telephone contact.
  • Face to face meetings and support.
  • Help with advice on housing issues.
  • Detailed understanding of the court process and the criminal justice system.
  • Attendance with you at any police interviews or court proceedings.
  • Liaison between you, the police, the CPS and barristers acting on your behalf.
  • Emotional support and guidance.
  • Support in reporting your assault to the police if you were first a self referral to The Bridgeway.
  • Assistance with Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims.