Single service to benefit victims of sexual assault across the region (28 Oct 2015)

Victims of rape and sexual assault in West Yorkshire will receive the care and support they need from a new region wide service put in place by NHS England and the West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner.

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.

For the first time a single service has been put in place across Yorkshire and the Humber, this will allow those treating victims to be able to better share their knowledge and expertise to the benefit of the service and those using it.

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 Advocates will also be on hand to support victims with any practical issues they may face including contacting the victims employer on their behalf.  The units also offer victims advice on sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

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

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said:

"It is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan to improve outcomes for the very vulnerable group of victims and survivors who experience this particularly serious crime. That means meeting their immediate health needs and making it as easy as possible for them to report the crime to the police (if they choose to do this) in a way that makes a successful prosecution and outcome more likely.

"The establishment of a dedicated SARC in West Yorkshire earlier this year was long overdue and a real milestone. The appointment of a single provider across the region builds on that and is of great importance to West Yorkshire, with the largest and most diverse population and the greatest need for such a service. I look forward to working closely with the new service to build on the recent improvements which have been achieved through partnership working between the Police, NHS, voluntary sector and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire (WYPCC).

"There is no room for complacency. Victims of these crimes still find it very difficult to make use of the services that are available for whole variety of reasons; the services can find it difficult to deliver the right response to a whole variety of contexts and situations. But this is another important step in the right direction in better joining up specialist services."

Notes to editors

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 for more information go to http://www.mountainhealthcare.co.uk/

 

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018