Friday 01 September 2023
On the 1st October, the Sexual Assault Referral Centre will launch its call helpline to the public. The helpline will be available 24/7 and staffed by trained Crisis Workers.
Although they have the word Crisis in their job titles, these compassionate and caring individuals are there to support anyone who has experienced something of a sexual nature that they did not want to happen.
Islanders can call the helpline for information about the options available to them, advice on support services and referrals into the SARC. Calls will be welcome from anyone who has experienced sexual assault or abuse, whether it was a long time ago or very recently.
On the 1st January 2024, the SARC will then start its forensic examination service, meaning survivors and victims will be able to attend the centre for an evidential examination as an alternative to going straight to the police.
The opening of a Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Guernsey has been a key priority for the Committee for Home Affairs this term, and it is also a priority under the Government Work Plan.
Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:
"The development of the SARC has been something the entire Committee has been pushing for, and we are all very pleased that we are now reaching the point that the various services offered by the centre are starting to come online. I would also like to express my thanks for the support we have received from both third sector partners and States Members to help get us to this stage.
"We are fortunate to have a police force in Guernsey that takes any kind of sexual offence incredibly seriously, however we also know that for victims, it can sometimes be very intimidating approaching the police in the first instance. The SARC offers an alternative to this, that will still ensure the right advice is offered and the correct evidence gathered, so offenders can be brought to justice."
Charlie Cox, SARC Manager, said:
"The helpline will be the first contact many victims and survivors may have had with a professional to talk about what has happened to them. Staff have been trained to respond in a trauma-informed way and the public can be assured that their views, wishes and feelings will be central to the support they receive. The next phase of the SARC, which is independent forensic medical examinations, will launch in January 2024; but we should not underestimate the impact of the helpline. For some people, they may not want or benefit from a medical examination and therefore the helpline will be able to guide victims and survivors to a more holistic offer of support."
If something of a sexual nature has happened to you that you did not want, you will be able to call the SARC helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If on the rare occasion we do not answer the phone, this means we're supporting someone else and if you leave a message we will call you back. The number for the helpline will be published later in September, ahead of the launch.