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St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

Sexual Assault Referrals and Assessments

If you are a practitioner in Cheshire West and need advice in relation to a sexual abuse suspicion, disclosure or referral you can call the St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Manchester for advice. The SARC should be consulted as part of ALL strategy discussions and meetings in respect of allegations of sexual assault or abuse of a child. St Mary’s is commissioned to carry out child sexual abuse medical assessments for West Cheshire children.

St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is commissioned to provide comprehensive and coordinated forensic, medical, counselling and aftercare services to children in relation to sexual assault, abuse and violence.

The commissioned service not only provides forensic evidence for criminal justice purposes relating to sexual assault, abuse or exploitation, but also addresses health and well-being needs/outcomes following a sexual assault or abuse. Practitioners need to be aware of the services offered by SARC in supporting young people who may have been sexually abused as part of the pre and post investigation response. Social workers and safeguarding professionals who work with children are able to undertake familiarisation visits to the SARC.

Where there are Strategy Discussions/Meetings or Section 47 investigations in relation to sexual abuse of a child the SARC needs to be involved or at least consulted. This is set out in the LSCB Practice Standards for Child Protection and Children in Care: “The SARC should be invited to be involved in all strategy discussions and meetings in respect of allegations of sexual assault/abuse.”

Medical assessments relating to the suspected sexual abuse of children must be conducted by the SARC.