If you are under 18 and have experienced sexual violence or sexual abuse, or you are concerned about a child or young person, we really encourage you to get in touch with us, so that you/the child or young person can receive the support and important healthcare they need.
We understand that it can be confusing to know which steps to take, following an experience or disclosure of sexual violence/sexual abuse, so we have provided some information below, which will hopefully help you to get a better understanding of what a visit to our SARC involves.
Booking an Appointment
Children and young people can can be referred into our Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) by the Police and other professionals, such as Social Care. For young people over the age of 13, we also have a self-referral pathway (which allows the young person to access our service without police involvement).
Either the Police or the SARC will speak to the child/young person or their parent/guardian (as appropriate for their age) about anything they need to do before coming to the SARC or anything they might like to bring with them (e.g., toys, a book, change of clothes, etc).
During this time, we are completing COVID-19 risk assessments, prior to attendance and the SARC, and we may complete some aspects of the holistic assessment over the phone.
To learn more about making an appointment with us, please visit our Appointments page.
When the Child or Young Person Arrives
When children and young people arrive, they are welcomed by one of our friendly Support Workers and a Nurse or Doctor. To learn more about the West Midlands Children and Young Persons Service team, please click here.
All young people, whether they are referred into the service by the Police/Social Care or if they self-refer (without Police involvement), can bring someone with them, e.g., a parent/guardian, family member, or friend.
We will make sure that children and young people are as comfortable as possible once they are at our centre.
Explaining the Process & Time For Questions
We will go through the SARC process and make sure that the child or young person understands everything, and we can re-explain each stage of the process as we go along.
Children and young people can choose to use as much or as little of the service as they want to. If they want to pause or discontinue with the assessment/examination at any point, that is absolutely fine.
Children and young people will have the opportunity to ask any questions they might have when they arrive and throughout the process.
You can learn more about the healthcare and support services we offer children and young people here.
Before the Child or Young Person Leaves
Although the child or young person will only be with our team at the SARC for a short amount of time (typically 4-6 hours), we want to make sure that they receive ongoing aftercare and support when they leave our SARC.
It is likely that our Doctor/Nurse and Support Worker will refer the child or young person into other helpful services, who will be able to offer them additional support following their appointment with us.
Everything we are told by children and young people, during their visit to our SARC, is treated in confidence and only shared with those agencies/services which need to know, in order to protect them from harm.
We will always speak to children/young people or their parents or guardians (as appropriate for their age) about how we process their information and who it may need to be shared with in order to protect the young person and ensure they get the ongoing care and support they need.