SARCs (Sexual Abuse Referral Centres) are specialist medical and forensic services for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted.

They aim to be a one-stop service, providing the all of the following under one roof: medical care and forensic examination following assault/rape and, in some locations, sexual health services. Medical Services are free of charge and provided to women, men, young people and children.

SARCs are mostly able to assist in the immediate aftermath of an assault but do not offer long term specialised counselling and support services that are provided by Specialist Rape & Sexual Abuse Centres such as CRASAC.

Most SARCs are able to offer medical services to anyone, including those who do not wish to report the assault to the police (‘self referrals’). Service users can then choose whether they would like to inform the police at a later stage and have their samples stored whilst they are considering what to do next. It is hoped that through this option service users can take back some control over what is happening whilst allowing more time to make such an important decision.

In order to preserve any evidence that may be present it is vital that help from the SARC is accessed as immediately as possible after an assault. In addition, SARC’s can advise on and assist with other medical needs. For information and to book an appointment, phone the SARC nearest to you.

If you live in Cornwall please call 01872 272059 or visit


Anonymous Intelligence (without direct police involvement). If you decide you just want to give details of the incident to someone; the SARC can take these details and pass them on anonymously to the police. This may help with future prevention of attacks.

More info


LDeciding whether or not to report a rape to the police is a very difficult decision and unfortunately one which needs to be made as soon as possible. There are many points of view about whether or not to report – whichever decision you make, no one should make you feel guilty.

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The booklet “From Report to Court” is a publication from Rights of Women. It provides info and support to people who have experienced sexual violence as well as those who support them. It explains the law relating to sexual offences as well as different stages of the process.

More info

01872 262100

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