Plymouth’s new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) was formally opened on 5 February, coinciding with the start of national Sexual Violence Awareness Week. The facility, run by Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT), is a new, purpose-built environment that will provide support to people who have experienced rape or sexual assault.

The new Plymouth SARC provides improved 24-hour access to services for women, men and children who have been sexually assaulted. Services include immediate medical care, medical advice, crisis workers, forensic medical examination and onward referral to sexual health and independent sexual violence advisors (ISVAs).

The state-of-the-art adult forensic facility complemented by a new website that provides clear advice, support and self-referral options for those who have experienced rape or sexual assault, which can be with or without the need for police involvement. There is also guidance for professionals from other organisations who may need to refer people to Plymouth SARC.

The new premises were formally opened by HM Deputy Lieutenant of Devon Brigadier Simon Young, who was joined by NHS staff, members of Plymouth City Council and representatives from other local organisations.