05 May 2017
Jersey’s new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) has officially opened.
Dewberry House on Route du Fort will provide a range of support for victims of rape and sexual assault – it is estimated that around 800 people in Jersey are affected each year.
Crisis support and forensic medical examinations will be accessible 24-hours-a-day at the SARC for both children and adults, with specialist staff trained in helping victims make informed decisions following a sexual assault. Clients may access the centre with or without Police involvement and will be given the same level of care regardless of the choice they make.
The SARC model has worked successfully in England and Wales, where there are more than 80 support centres receiving funding from the Ministry of Justice. Beyond any obvious and immediate physical and psychological harm sexual assault and rape can have on an victim, longer-term effects may often include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, drug and substance misuse, self-harm and suicide; however, appropriate support can have an extremely positive impact on victims, with knock-on benefits to society as a whole.
Dewberry House will provide a safe and private space for interviews and forensic examinations, with any medical samples from those who have opted to self-refer being stored within the SARC for two years.
Aftercare following an assault
There will also be a focus on the aftercare following a sexual assault, with options including referrals to sexual health services and counselling support from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), adult mental health or voluntary organisations such as JAAR (Jersey Action against Rape) and Jersey Women’s Refuge.
All victims will be offered support from a trained ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor). An ISVA will help clients understand how the criminal justice process works and assist in making an informed choice about whether to make a report to the Police.
Deputy Kristina Moore, Minister for Home Affairs, said: “Rape and sexual assault are horrific crimes that can ruin lives and have a massive impact on individuals and on society. In opening the Island’s SARC we are taking a significant step forward in the support that’s available for victims. The SARC encourages a culture of multi-agency working that supports safeguarding and offers greater protection at the most vulnerable point of a person's life.
“The opening of this new centre further contributes towards my strategic aim of preventing and combating violence against women and girls.”
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Senator Andrew Green, added: “The Government has recognised the importance of investing in sexual assault services for victims and consequently has released three years of funding as part of the initial response to identified priority areas discussed during the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. I am delighted this partnership initiative between Health and Social Services, and Community and Constitutional Affairs, has come to fruition.”
Visit the SARC website