Sexual assault referral centres

Page last updated: 21 August 2023
Organisations we regulate

We inspect all registered sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) in England.

SARCs offer medical, practical and emotional support to anyone who has been raped sexually assaulted or abused. Find out about the services SARCs provide and where they are located.

We define a SARC as:

'A place or service whose primary or main purpose is the provision of regulated activities to people who are or may have been the victims of a sexual offence within the meaning of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.'

SARCs are delivered through different organisational models, including:

  • NHS organisations working from NHS premises
  • combined Police and NHS providers working from private premises, NHS premises or police premises
  • independent providers working from private premises but providing a service to NHS patients

Following an inspection, we make a judgement on whether a service is meeting the regulations and necessary legal requirements. We base this on our assessment of the:

  • evidence we gather against our key lines of enquiry
  • additional specific prompts for providers of sexual assault referral centres.

We do not currently have the legal powers to award a rating for the quality of care provided.

We use information and data to help us to decide when to inspect a SARC. We may inspect when:

  • it has moved to a new location
  • it has a new health provider
  • we have information or data which indicate an inspection is required.

We work closely with the Forensic Science Regulator and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to make sure people using SARC services in England receive high quality care. SARCs must follow the Regulator's Code of Practice when providing high quality healthcare alongside forensic medical examination. UKAS has developed a programme to accredit SARCs in England and Wales.

Inspection reports for Norfolk and Suffolk SARCS

Norfolk SARC: The Harbour Centre (pdf, 221.63kB, English)
Suffolk SARC: The Ferns (pdf, 225.83kB, English)

All registered sexual assault referral centres: links to inspection reports