Anniversary of sexual assault referral centre to be marked

The opening of the centre
The opening of the centre

The first anniversary of Cambridgeshire’s new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is set to be marked this month.

The Elms, based at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, provides a dedicated service to all survivors of sexual assault, was opened on 14 December last year.

It provides survivors with a safe place to receive medical aftercare, forensic examinations, support and anonymously report assaults.

In the past 11 months the centre has supported 247 clients, of which 30 self-referred. Of these, 161 were adults and 86 were under 18.

It also has dedicated facilities for children and young people, including paediatric clinics.

Support is available 24/7 to anyone who has experienced sexual abuse by calling 0800 193 5434 .

Services at The Elms are provided by Mountain Healthcare Ltd, who are commissioned to provide forensic healthcare services by the NHS and police, and regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

The Elms services are closely supported by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership, Embrace, Peterborough Women’s Aid, Victims Hub, and Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Manager Rachel Matheson said: “The Elms supports abuse survivors when they are at their most vulnerable, ensuring they receive the highest quality care and ongoing support.

“The service we give survivors is vital and I am pleased we have been able to help 247 survivors of all ages and genders.

“While we work closely with the police I would like to reassure anyone who attends the centre that everything they tell us is confidential and will not be reported as a crime unless they specifically ask.”

Jacqui Campey from the Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership, said: “The Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership offer survivors specialist support after the trauma of sexual violence.

“We recognise that strength comes from working in partnership with organisations like The Elms SARC to ensure the best possible outcome for survivors of sexual violence giving them the means to move forward positively.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank colleagues at The Elms who have offered support to victims over the past year. It will be of great comfort to survivors of sexual abuse to know there is a place where they can seek help, access support and advice in a safe, non-threatening environment.

“The SARC here in Cambridgeshire is already receiving national recognition and is being held up as a beacon of best practice. We should rightly be proud of our achievement in ensuring victims of these serious offences are wrapped in a blanket of care and support.”

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner provides funding towards a number of specialist support services at the SARC including Independent Sexual Violence Advocates and counselling support for young victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, delivered by Embrace. For more details about commissioned services visit:

More information about The Elms is available online at . The website includes an option to hide the webpage from your browser history to enable survivors to view it without fear.