Information for professionals

SARC stands for Sexual Assault Referral Centre and there are around 40 SARC's in the UK each covering a geographical area that is usually in line with local Policing areas.

Helen Britton House provides comfortable supportive surroundings, forensically secure areas and interview facilities to ensure that Victims of Sexual Violence receive the best possible service in Teesside.

If your client discloses sexual assault or rape you need to consider the following:

SARC staff offer an independent victim focussed service. SARC staff recognise that for many victims 'officials' such as Police and medical professionals have 'power' and therefore will advocate on behalf of the victim throughout.

SARC is the central referral hub for sexual offence services and one referral into SARC can ensure that all appropriate services are put in place through agreed referral pathways

If you would like your team to have a comprehensive understanding of SARC, please contact us to arrange an awareness raising session. We can also provide training around the impact of sexual violence.

Attending Court

Remember that a victim of sexual violence does not have to report to the police or go to court to access our services

The courts and the police and of course us recognise that reporting a crime and attending court can be very daunting and worrying for victims. The standard of proof is high for criminal convictions and this can result in acquittals at court. This does not mean that a victim is not believed, a jury must be sure that a person is guilty before finding them guilty. The risk of acquittal can put even more strain on a victim. A significant number of sex offenders are convicted every year it is important to remember this.

If a victim decides to report a case to the police, they will be supported by our SARC services. These services and support at court are delivered by specialist support workers called ISVAs. This means Independent Sexual Violence Advisor. An ISVA will provide support for you throughout the process but ensures that they do not discuss or influence your evidence in anyway. They arethere to help you and are truly independent so they do not influence the outcome of the case or taint your evidence.

In most cases we refer victims to one of our partners who provide high quality ISVA services across Teesside. We would make a referral on your behalf to the most appropriate service provider to meet your needs. The SARC does operate an ISVA service for certain situations but in the vast majority of cases the victim receives a high quality service from one of our partners.

From first picking up the phone and speaking to us to a conclusion at court and beyond we will ensure that you get the services that you need.

SARC Staff are available 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year: Tel 01642 516888