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Safe place for victims of sexual assault launching in town

Safe place for victims of sexual assault launching in town

Thursday 30 March 2023

Safe place for victims of sexual assault launching in town

Thursday 30 March 2023


The pilot for Guernsey’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is set to open its doors in the North Plantation, above the Choices Centre.

The location of the new centre is vital, as it needs to be easily accessible to the public while being independent from the Police.

Across the entire first floor, the centre comprises a waiting space with hot drinks, several confidential meeting rooms, a forensic medical examination room, Police interview rooms, a toilet, and a shower.

Charlie Cox, the newly appointed SARC Manager, is now urging victims of sexual assault or abuse to share their ideas for the design of the centre. 

Rather than sharing personal experiences of assault, the team are seeking thoughts from those who have received formal support anywhere in the world, including how this was delivered, and if anything could’ve been improved. 

The hope is to make it a warm and comfortable space, with a firm connection to other support located downstairs at Choices.

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Pictured: Confidential and comfortable meeting rooms make up a large part of the centre.

Ms Cox elaborated: “At the moment we have an empty shell and are looking for individuals who have been sexually assaulted or abused who may wish to support us in the design and feel of the service, using their experiences to inform us. 

“We have some important decisions to make with regard to the name, layout and feel of the service and want to achieve these in partnership with those impacted by sexual assault and abuse.” 

Adjustments can be made, given the proximity of the centre to nightclubs and the probation service, such as walking attendees to the door from car parks if they are uncomfortable.

Deputy Rob Prow, President of Home Affairs, ensured that enough cash was fast tracked to get the SARC off the ground quicker last year.

“I know that the team working on the development of the pilot SARC have looked carefully at the matter of its location. The Centre will be a place for victims of all kind of sexual assault and abuse to come forwards and receive support,” he said.

“Going to a SARC is a separate route to going straight to the police to allow people to make their own choices about how they are supported.”

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Pictured: A shower is available for attendees to wash after forensic examinations. 

Once operational, the SARC will offer independent medical, practical, and emotional support to those who have been sexually assaulted or abused. 

The centre is being piloted so the needs of the community can be determined first, and because limited resources means the initiative cannot be “all singing, all dancing” for all, according to Ms Cox.

A recent Guernsey Police survey showed that over 60% of respondents experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse locally. 

One in four women and one in 20 men have been raped or sexually assaulted as an adult in the UK, according to ONS data.

If you have ideas or wish to share your views, you can contact the SARC Manager at Charlie.Cox@gov.gg.

READ MORE...

FOCUS: Why Guernsey needs a Sexual Assault Referral Centre

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