The long-awaited Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is one step closer to being realised, with the official appointment of its manager - Charlie Cox – who is determined to support victims of assault.
Ms Cox will be leaving her job as CEO of Guernsey and Alderney’s Youth Commission to help develop and manage the pilot SARC, which is set to be launched later this year.
“The priority will be speaking to people who have been sexually assaulted and have either chosen to go down the route of speaking to the police or not and to find out what stopped them,” said Ms Cox.
She told Express that without a current centre, the only victims of sexual assault who are visible to the relevant services are those who report incidents to the police. “We only see those who are willing to go to the police and who feel confident enough to go to the police.”
The SARC will be a service that isn’t directly linked to the criminal justice system, allowing victims to seek help without the pressure of filing a police report.
“Establishing a SARC will mean that people have a place they feel safe and supported in making the decision [to go to the police],” Ms Cox continued. “When something traumatic has happened and you end up at the police station, it’s huge. [The alternative] is to find yourself at a SARC, where you have a warm welcome and the support to go to the police.”
Pictured: Ms Cox (right) with Deputy Sue Aldwell (left). Deputy Aldwell is a member of the Committee for Home Affairs and has been working on the development of a SARC.
Ms Cox will start her new job on 6 March and will be instrumental in developing the necessary links to make the new service hit the ground running.
“My role will be to set up the services. There’ll be an element of some hands-on work, but also establishing links with the police and other charities who provide support,” she said.
“I am already grateful to see that there is huge political support from the Committee for Home Affairs for this project, and it also aligns with the hard work of individuals in our community. My aim will be to create pathways with support of other services and charities in the Bailiwick to give people a choice about what their journey looks like when it comes to making a report of an incident or seeking help afterwards.”
The development of a SARC has been consistently referred to as being a “key priority” for Home Affairs. The President of the Committee, Deputy Rob Prow, said “it is very much part of the package within our Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy”.
He said: “Ms Cox’s appointment is extremely important in the development of the SARC and making it operational and will undoubtedly go further in energising this work, as she brings very valuable experience with her.”
Pictured: “The Committee has announced on many occasions that the development of a SARC has been a key priority this term,” said Deputy Prow.
While a physical premises hasn’t been publicly announced Ms Cox said somewhere has been earmarked for the SARC.
The pilot scheme will be run by the States initially, with a possibility that it could be picked up by a third party in the future.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.