High praise for the Saturn Centre
Posted: Friday, August 27th, 2010
Praise has been heaped upon the Saturn Centre- Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for Sussex in two independent reports.
The Police Force and its partners have a “first class” facility for victims of rape and sexual assault, according to a review carried out by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
The Home Office’s National Support Team (NST) for Response to Sexual Violence also noted that the SARC has contributed to the improvement in the initial response to the investigation of rape.
The SARC based at Crawley Hospital – is accessible 24/7 for police referrals and has recently opened a second medical examination room.
Operational since January 2009, the facility was praised within both reports which examined all aspects of Sussex Police’s handling of rape investigations, from the moment an offence is first reported.
The ACPO review recognised that there is an “unusually strong and comprehensive emphasis on rape prevention in the Force” and added: “It is clear that much work has been done and is planned by the Force and its partners.”
It went on to say the Force has a “sound and established framework” for its work on serious sexual offences, and had “strong and effective” partnership arrangements with both statutory and voluntary agencies.
The NST commended the full engagement of key partners and was “impressed by the motivation, commitment and hard work that has evidently been put into the development of the SARC”.
When there is a report of a rape, a specially-trained police officer will take the victim to the Saturn Centre, where they are met by a trained Rape Crisis Support Worker who as well as providing reassurance and comfort will give a brief overview of what happens at the SARC. The victim will then be medically examined if appropriate, be given the opportunity to provide an interview or statement to police, and linked in with other key services such as counselling and sexual health – all at one location.
The SARC is managed by a multi-agency board comprising Sussex Police, West Sussex, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Primary Care Trusts, and the three local authorities. It is also funded jointly by these seven organisations.
The centre not only provides high quality care for victims but improved forensic evidence which has the potential to bring more offenders to justice, increased reporting because of the high level of support offered to victims and access to intelligence from self-referrals.
Detective Inspector Alison Eaton, from the Forces Specialist Investigations Branch, said: “We’re delighted that The Saturn Centre has been officially recognised for the first class service that’s provided to victims of rape and sexual assault”.
“The reviews that have been carried out highlight a number of areas where Sussex Police demonstrates good practice when dealing with this particularly sensitive crime. We are determined to continue to improve victim care together with our investigations and will take on board the recommendations that have been made.”
* Article taken from Sussex police web site (www.sussex.police.uk)