Thursday 23 June 2022
The Committee for Home Affairs has submitted an amendment to the 2022 Government Work Plan requesting an additional £50,000 to kickstart the pilot scheme of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
The amendment would also direct stakeholder Committees to continue to commit the appropriate resources required to establish the SARC, as cross-committee working will be essential to the success of the pilot.
Establishing a SARC is already a priority workstream in the Committee's Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy, and, under the GWP, would get its initial funding in 2023. Whilst scoping requirements for the SARC have commenced, this amendment would allow work to establish the services to begin this year, supporting the preparation work required for the launch of a SARC next year.
The money would go toward resourcing support, and training costs.
Deputy Sue Aldwell, The Committee for Home Affairs', Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence lead, said:
"Earlier this year the Committee promised to expedite work to open a SARC in Guernsey, and this additional funding will allow us to bring any potential opening date forward. Exploratory works are already well under way, but a facility such as a SARC requires staff which are specially trained, and needs to meet specific requirements to ensure it is suitable. This additional funding, if approved by the States, would allow us to resource those requirements.
"A SARC will go a long way in supporting members of our community who are victims of sexual offences or domestic abuse, and as a Committee we are dedicated to doing what we can to tackle these issues. In conjunction with ongoing Police and third sector efforts in this area, we are confident a SARC would be a very positive step forward."
Recently, Deputy Aldwell and officers from the Committee for Home Affairs attended a presentation by the manager of Jersey's SARC to gain a greater understanding of how that operates. Deputy Aldwell is also now set to visit the Jersey facility next month.
The Committee has also already started to work with the third sector to understand what would be needed in a SARC in Guernsey, and in what way it may operate. It is of the upmost importance that any SARC is done in the correct way, with responding to its user's needs and concerns being its priority.
In preparing this amendment, the Committee has already undertaken consultation with the Policy & Resources Committee, the Committee for Health & Social Care, and the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, all of whom will be contributors to the services provided by a SARC in the future.
More consultation with relevant parties, such as survivors of sexual assault, will also take place in the future.