What is a SARC?
A SARC is a building where victims of serious sexual violence such as rape receive a high-quality professional response to their needs, whether medical or otherwise. SARCS are now a recognised effective first step towards recovery from the trauma of a sexual assault and there are many established centres in England and Wales. The SARC serving the Coventry and Warwickshire area is called ‘The Blue Sky Centre’ and is situated at George Eliot Hospital, Nuneaton.
How can I get there?
George Eliot Hospital is easily accessible, situated on the A444 outside Nuneaton and only 6 miles from Coventry City Centre. For a map of the location and for a link to information regarding public transport please visit the Contact Us section of this website.
What times will it be open?
The SARC is staffed during normal working hours 9 am to 5pm Monday to Friday but will be available for use via a call-out system on a 24/7 basis 365 days of the year.
Is it only for police cases?
No. Anyone who has been attacked sexually in Coventry, Warwickshire or anywhere else can access the SARC whether or not they want to involve the police and receive exactly the same range of services.
How do I contact the SARC?
You can contact the SARC by calling 02476 865 505. You can call and make an appointment, based on the circumstances of your attack or drop in if you’d prefer but we would advise making an appointment in case the SARC is already looking after someone else.
Does it cost anything?
No. This is a free service for the people of Coventry and Warwickshire that is funded by a partnership between Coventry City Council, NHS England, Warwickshire County Council, Warwickshire Police and West Midlands Police.
Who will I see?
During normal working hours the SARC is staffed by a Manager, a Deputy Manager and a Crisis Worker. Each client who visits the SARC will see the on duty Crisis Worker, a person trained to look after their needs and support them throughout their time at the SARC. The Crisis Worker will usually be of the same sex as you and will be with you if you decide to undergo a medical examination. If you have reported the matter to the police the specially trained officer who first dealt with you is also likely to remain with you as long as you want them to. If you want to see a medical professional the SARC will provide a trained, experienced and caring practitioner to provide this service for you.
Will I have to wait in a public waiting room?
No. The SARC is very discreet. There is no direct public access so the Centre will only be opened up to accommodate clients. It has wings for adults and children with separate waiting areas for adults, young children and older children with a range of entertainment and reading materials appropriate to the age. We have designed the waiting areas to be as comfortable and relaxing as possible whilst recognising the need to avoid contamination of evidence. The SARC will only see one client at a time in either wing.
Does it cater for men?
Yes. Men can also be victims of rape and sexual violence and will get exactly the same services as women.
What ages will you see?
There is no age limit. Sadly children of all ages can be victims of sexual abuse. There is a 24/7 forensic paediatrician service that operates across Warwickshire, West Midlands and West Mercia Police areas.
Is it confidential?
The services provided at the SARC is entirely confidential. Clients who do not want any police involvement can if they wish provide some anonymous intelligence but none of their details will be passed to the police or anyone else without their express consent unless statutory Safeguarding disclosure duties apply (i.e. child protection issues.)
How long will it take?
Each case will be different. We aim to have a Crisis Worker at the SARC within an hour of a call out of hours and a similar time for a forensic practitioner. A medical examination can take anything between one and two hours. Depending on your wishes and the circumstances you may agree to be interviewed by the police in facilities provided at the SARC or you may wait in the comfortable rest room whilst we arrange transport home for you or other services if required.
Does the SARC provide counselling?
No. Counselling is and will continue to be provided by the local sexual violence service providers; CRASAC, RoSA, Safeline and Terrence Higgins Trust, all of whom are closely linked to the SARC and who can be contacted via the links section of the website. The Crisis Worker can also help you make contact with these organisations.
What happens after the SARC?
We will have worked with you to assess your ongoing needs and began to arrange appointments before you leave. It may be that you need some further treatment regarding your sexual health, counselling, help with your housing or the support of an ISVA. Whatever you need we will do our best to support you in getting it.
Why do you ask questions about ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and the like?
We need to establish these things to make sure that our service is being offered fairly to everybody. Under the Equality Act 2010 Public Authorities have a duty to do this and only by gathering information about the users of our service can we be sure that the people of Coventry and Warwickshire all have equal access to us. Rest assured that this data is only used for this purpose.