Issued by North Yorkshire Police
Julia Mulligan, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, and North Yorkshire Police have today (1 May 2013) opened a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) which will significantly improve services for victims of rape and sexual assault.
Known as Bridge House, the SARC provides access to services and support for victims under one roof. Bridge House is not a police station but provides a homely environment for victims to talk through the options available to them.
Crucially, victims do not have to report the crime to the police to receive help and they can contact the SARC by telephone to make an appointment. Any forensic evidence which is available can then be gathered and kept until the victim decides whether or not they want to involve the police.
Speaking about the opening, Julia Mulligan said: “Rape and sexual assault are devastating crimes which can have life changing effects.
“Within the Police and Crime Plan, I am absolutely committed to putting victims at the heart of our services; ensuring that we focus attention on what they need, when they need it. The facilities at the SARC will significantly improve the support we can give and improve the chance of bringing justice for these victims.
“I am grateful to everyone involved over the last two years to bring the SARC to its opening today. I will now be working hard with health colleagues to ensure we can maintain the facility for the long term.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Mason, Head of Crime, added: “This is a major milestone for North Yorkshire. Having the SARC means that victims of some of the most harrowing of crimes can get all the professional help they need under one roof.
“They can explore all the options available to them, allowing them to make a choice, in their own time, about how they wish their case to be dealt with, safe in the knowledge that no evidence will be lost.”
SARC Manager Sarah Murphy, added: “Victims of sexual crimes can often be scared and confused, and they may find it hard to approach the police and make a complaint in the early days following an assault.
“The centre will make sure that they can receive the best possible care, support and service from all the agencies who can help them, including specially trained professionals who will guide them through all the options available to them.”
Victims can contact Bridge House on 01904 669339, or visit the website here.
If you are in immediate danger you must always call 999.
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