Service will help victims of sex crime

Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove
Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove

Victims of rape and sexual assault in Bridlington and East Yorkshire are to benefit from a new region-wide service.

Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCS) give victims a more comfortable environment in which to undergo a forensic examination, receive counselling and be advised on and supported in the process of pressing charges.

The scheme was put in place by NHS England and the Police and Crime Commissioners for the Yorkshire and Humber area, and will allow those treating victims to be able to better share their knowledge and expertise.

Chris Jewesbury, Head of Health and Justice Commissioning for NHS England – North (Yorkshire and the Humber), said: “It is vital that we ensure victims of sexual assault get the right help and support in an environment which puts them at ease.

“By putting in place one single organisation which can provide this service right across Yorkshire and the Humber clinicians will be able to work together in order to learn from each other so they are better equipped to deal with these complex and delicate issues.”

For the first time all victims from across Yorkshire and the Humber will receive a consistent service, each will have access to a crisis worker who can offer help and guidance from the moment the assault is reported until the conclusion of any legal process.

Independent Sexual Violence Advisors will also be on hand to support victims with any practical issues they may face including contacting the victims employer on their behalf.

The SARCs also offer victims advice on sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

There will be four centres around the region delivering this vital service which is available to support victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Victims will also be able to self-refer by going to any one of the centre or by using a single telephone number, which will be made public in the near future.

Matthew Grove, Police and Crime Commissioner for Humberside, said:

“I am delighted that the existing excellent provision in Humberside will be maintained and indeed enhanced as it is vital that victims of these horrendous types of crime have confidence to come forward and seek assistance, treatment and care. “Victims of sexual offences deserve the very best care and support and the new service will also give them every opportunity to ensure justice is done and their perpetrators are brought to book.”

In 2013 as a result of the Health and Social Care Act NHS England and Public Health England were established. NHS England received the delegated authority to commission a range of public health functions under s7A of the act, which include sexual assault referral centres.

The new services will be provided by Mountain Health Care, a clinically led business, specialising in the provision of Sexual Assault Referral Services and Police Custodial Healthcare.

The firm said they provide high quality provision includes healthcare and support provision from initial contact, through to forensic examination at a Sexual Assault Referral Centre, and on to specialist aftercare services thereafter.