Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire | WYPCC

Construction Accolade For West Yorkshire's Sexual Assault Referral Centre

Friday 23rd October 2020,

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson has praised all those involved in the development of the brand new state of the art Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for West Yorkshire.

SARC Visit

It comes as the project to help deliver the vision for the facility has just been awarded the National Police Estates Group (NPEG) best construction project over £1m.

The fully integrated service for victims of sexual violence and abuse opened its doors in June 2020, having being instigated and envisioned by the PCC to drive it forward with partners in providing the necessary step change in the services required.

Work originally began in late 2018 to house a number of specialist services. It now houses both Children and Adult Services under the same roof in the heart of West Yorkshire.

The facility, which has been commissioned by PCC, NHS England and NHS Improvement also incorporates court live-link facilities, interviewing suites for video recorded interviews (VVS/VRI), waiting rooms, a hub for specialist support services, and referral to Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA).

Its purpose is to ensure victims and survivors have access to specialist medical and forensic services and advice. The staff help the victims and survivors to make informed decisions about what they want to do next, whether this is reporting the incident to the police or receiving specialist care and support.

Partners including the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for West Yorkshire, West Yorkshire Police, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Mountain Health Care, the Courts Service HMCTS and victims support services, have all been involved in its development.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson said:

Live Link Facility

“To hear that the SARC project has already achieved this accolade is absolutely fantastic news and testament to the many months of hard work and planning that has gone into its development and I’m delighted that the work of all the project team have been recognised in this way. This could not have been realised alone and it has been a real partnership effort to understand the needs and requirements of both victims and survivors of sexual offences, including the key links to achieving better criminal justice outcomes.”

“There have of course been many challenges and hurdles along the way, not to mention the issues arising from the COVID pandemic, but through the right expertise and knowledge, we have together delivered a facility that will make a significant difference to some of the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Only a matter of weeks ago I managed to visit the completed building transformation to see for myself the very high standards of work, as well as the innovation and technology it now houses. It’s hugely impressive.

“Although this represents success on many fronts, what is most pleasing is that the outcome of our approach means that we are now able to provide a fully integrated state of the art hub in West Yorkshire for those who most need our care and support.

“I send my congratulations to all those involved in helping to make this happen for the people we serve and the award is clearly deserved for what I believe will be one of the best facilities of its kind in the country.”

Head of Estates at West Yorkshire Police, Matthew Saunders added:

“Great care has gone into the design and standard of the facilities and this award is a well-earnt reward for the skills and hard work of my team.

“To deliver on time, to budget and to excellent standards despite COVID impacting the later stages of works is a fantastic achievement and thanks must also go to our contractor Keir Construction.

“The support of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and a range of partners was invaluable throughout creating a forward looking vision.

“It has been a privilege to deliver this project providing an effective and supportive environment for those in need.”