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The Swindon and Wiltshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

The SARC is the first point of contact if you’ve experienced rape and sexual assault in Wiltshire.

The Swindon and Wiltshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

The SARC is the first point of contact if you’ve experienced rape and sexual assault in Wiltshire.

At the Swindon and Wiltshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), we offer immediate help to anyone who has experienced a recent or non-recent rape or sexual assault in Wiltshire. If you’ve been raped or sexually assaulted, no matter how long ago, you can contact the SARC directly with or without police involvement. It’s a safe place where you’ll find confidential practical and emotional support from our team of specialist staff.

For information and advice, you can contact the Swindon and Wiltshire SARC by calling 01793 781916 and speaking to one of our specialist trained crisis workers.

Our advice and support telephone line is open 24/7 365 days a year. For non-recent referrals, you can make a secure referral online. Please note that online referrals are not monitored outside of office hours. Our office hours are Monday to Friday 09:00- 17:00.
For referrals or advice regarding a recent rape or sexual assault, please do not submit an online referral.

Please call us, to ensure time sensitive support and advice for forensic evidence collection, sexual health and medication can be offered.

What happens during my appointment at the SARC?

If you have experienced a recent rape or sexual assault you may be offered an appointment to visit SARC.

The SARC team can provide:

  • crisis support,
  • risk and needs assessment and safety planning,
  • comfortable clothing (if yours have been taken for evidence),
  • toiletries and an opportunity to shower,
  • space and time for you to decide what happens next.

Sexual offence examiners are a team of highly skilled and experienced doctors and nurses who are trained to carry out a range of interventions to support you during your time at the SARC.

These include:

  • risk and needs assessment,
  • emergency contraception,
  • pregnancy testing,
  • sexual health advice,
  • forensic medical examination.

To digitally view or download information about the SARC in Easy Read format, click here.

What is a Forensic Medical Examination?

The SARC offers the support and services you need, whether or not the police are involved. All our services are confidential. However, we have a legal duty to share information with the police and/or Children’s Social Care if a child or young person or vulnerable adult is considered to be at risk of significant harm (Children Act 2004 and Working Together to Safeguard Children).

At all times you will be able to make choices about what happens to you.
Here is a step-by-step guide to what typically happens when you contact the SARC:
STEP 1: Make an appointment

You can make an appointment to attend the SARC by contacting us on 01793 781916. When you call you will be given an explanation of the options available to you, as well as an appointment if that is what you choose. An appointment at the SARC can be made without police involvement.

If you call the police, they will arrange the appointment for you and accompany you to the SARC. A specially trained officer will look after you.

STEP 2: When you arrive
When you arrive for your appointment, you’ll speak to a Crisis Worker who will take your personal details, explain all of the options available to you and discuss what will happen next.
STEP 3: Forensic Medical Examination

You may be offered a forensic medical examination to collect and document forensic evidence. If you decide to, a forensic medical examination will be completed as sensitively as possible by a specialist doctor or nurse known as a Sexual Offences Examiner. The decision to go ahead with this examination is entirely up to you and can be carried out whether or not you choose to involve the police. You can choose to stop the examination at any time.

Forensic medical examinations are best carried out as soon as possible following an assault, Forensic medical examinations offer the opportunity to retrieve evidence that could be used if and when you choose to report to the police.

STEP 4: Advice and Support

Following the examination, the sexual offence examiner will discuss with you other areas of wellbeing such as screening for sexual infections and any concerns surrounding possible pregnancy. They will offer you the option to make onward referrals to sexual health and your GP for follow-up support.

You’ll also be supported by a crisis worker who will ensure you have the best support put in place for you after your SARC appointment.

STEP 5: Follow-up

We understand that dealing with the effects of rape or sexual assault can be very difficult and take time to resolve. To help you through this, the SARC can provide access to:

  • ongoing support from an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) – you can access them directly or be referred through the SARC,
  • a referral into a counselling service.
From the moment you contact the SARC, our team of Crisis Workers will be available to give you the support you need.

In summary, the team is able to:

  • explain the various options that may be available to you and then support you in whatever decisions you make,
  • provide emotional and practical support,
  • help you get the best support according to your needs and they will work with you to help achieve this, whether or not you want to take legal action; and,
  • provide a referral into the Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) Service who will attend pre-trial visits and court hearings with you, if you do choose to report the assault to the police.
We’re based at:
Swindon & Wiltshire SARC
The Gables
Shrivenham Road
South Marston

Our other services

Safer Futures provides individuals with advice and support to be safe and to recover from the effects of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Plymouth Counselling

We support people who have been affected by sexual violence, by providing short-term therapy and counselling.

Devon and Cornwall Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA) Service

They’ll be with you every step of the way.