Centre marks anniversary
The Saturn Centre - the county’s Sexual Assault Referral Clinic (SARC) – is celebrating its fourth anniversary.
The clinic, based at Crawley Hospital, opened in January 2009 and provides forensic and support services to people aged 14 and over who have reported being raped or seriously sexually assaulted.
The centre is a partnership project funded by Sussex Police, the four Sussex Primary Care Trusts, West Sussex County Council, East Sussex County Council, and Brighton and Hove City Ciouncil.
Since opening its doors, it has provided services to more than 1,400 people.
Although Sussex Police is closely involved with the Saturn Centre, individuals sometimes self-refer.
Between April 2012 and January, 77 out of the 313 people to visit the centre did not report their assault to the police.
A police spokesman said: “They can do so in complete confidence and have exactly the same access to forensic examination and support from a Crisis Support Worker as they would of reporting via police.
“This can help resassure and give people space to decide whether they want to report the matter to police for a criminal investigation.”
During 2011/12, 96 per cent of clients were female, with the peak age group for both sexes being between 18 and 24.
Of the 322 alleged assailants referred to, just 51 were reported to be complete strangers.
Detective Chief Inspector Carwyn Hughes said: “SARC is proving to be an invaluable asset in the investigation of serious sexual offences but, even more importantly, ensures that clients receive a compassionate, caring and very professional response.at a very traumatic point in their lives.
“We are committed to supporting the centre and to supporting everyone who comes forward to report that they have been a victim of sexual offending.”
For further information about the centre and the services available, log on to www.saturncentre.org
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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