Think sexual offence, think SARC
By Katie Mackay, SARC Link Worker - SARC Teesside/ ARCH North East
I find myself in my fourth week as a SARC Link Worker, a role primarily to spread awareness of the services available through Teesside Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).
These few weeks have involved a great deal of learning about the impact of Sexual Violence on victims and their families. I’ve had many conversations with professionals who work with victims, including staff at Teesside SARC and had the privilege of shadowing Independent Sexual Violence Advisors as they conduct home visits.
It has already become clear to me that the SARC service is sometimes misunderstood by professionals and individuals in the areas that we serve. The SARC offers a range of options to victims of sexual offences regardless of whether or not the client wishes to report to the Police.
SARC Manager Sue Smith says, ‘Its primary focus is to the victim, to enable them to make informed choices and to re-empower clients after what has been a disempowering experience.’
Yes, the SARC is where victims aged 16+ who have experienced an acute rape or sexual assault will have a forensic examination.
Yes, the SARC can store evidence for up to 2 years if the client is undecided about whether or not to report to the police.
Yes, the SARC provides access to address any immediate health needs (emergency contraception, PEPSE medication can be started for example).
Yes, the SARC is where Police interviews take place if a client has reported being a victim of sexual violence.
But, SARC offers so much more:
Our holistic assessment process opens up referral pathways that centre on a clients needs whether that is:
- Ongoing practical support
- Onward sexual health referrals
- Physical & mental health services
- Personal safety
- Shelter and housing
- Drugs and alcohol
- Family and friends
- Finance and benefits
- All victims and their carers are offered referrals to counsellor support.
We know that there are many victims out there who have not yet found us at the SARC. We know that we are not gaining the referrals we would expect from sectors such as health and indeed from individuals self-referring in. It is my job to try and change that.
Daytime and out-of-hours Crisis Workers are available 24 hours a day on 03333 44 8283. If you are an individual or a professional, please call us for confidential advice, in some circumstances we may be required to share some information.
For training and workshops around Sexual Violence and SARC Teesside please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Thursday 6th December 2018