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Visiting the SARC

What is the SARC?

The Children’s SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) is part of the Safeguarding Support Unit at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

We provide a child and teenage friendly environment for people up to 16 year olds from across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw who have been victims of sexual assault or rape.

Forensic examination can be done by our specially trained doctors in our forensic examination suite.

We are also able to make recommendations for ongoing services and support as appropriate.

What happens when I arrive?

You will be shown to our waiting room and greeted by our nurse and doctor (who is a children’s doctor or paediatrician). The doctor will talk to the police about what has happened to you whilst you are looked after by our nurse. This means you will not have to repeat this all over again to us.

Seeing the doctor

The doctor will then have a chat with you about your health and will talk to you about what happens in an examination. You may want your parent or carer to be with you, or you may prefer to speak on your own with the doctor. The doctor will want to ask all about your health and you will be able to ask questions too. We will make sure we have consent to do all this and we will ask you and your parent or carer for this.

What happens at the medical?

The doctor will then do a full medical with you and your parent or carer may be present if that is what you want. We will all need to wear a special gown. The room we use is a very plain doctor’s room.

Each stage of the medical will be explained to you beforehand so you are clear about what is happening. The doctor will want to check your body to make sure you are healthy and to look for injuries. This is often a full body check but we will be led by you and what you feel comfortable with.

We may need to (with your consent):

  • look at your private area to check for any injuries
  • take some samples, such as a urine test or a swab (like a cotton bud) to help the police — these are called forensic samples
  • take photographs of injuries

We may recommend some additional tests, including:

  • screening for drugs and alcohol
  • urine tests for pregnancy and infections
  • tests to look for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Please let us know if you need a break or you need to stop. We will always take your wishes very seriously.

How long will it take?

The average time someone will spend here is around 2 to 4 hours.

What happens next?

You can have a shower, change your clothes and have a snack if you wish. The police will inform you of their next steps. While here visiting our unit you may be asked by police to give a video interview.

We will also give you reassurance and advice about whether any further help is needed.

We can offer a range of services that will support you after your visit to us. This can include:

  • emergency contraception
  • treatment of injuries
  • prevention and treatment of infections such as STIs and HIV.
  • referral for support
  • referral to a children’s independent sexual violence advisor (CHISVA) who can help you access services such as counselling and support you before any court case
  • psychological support

We may let your school nurse, social worker or GP know about your visit here with your consent. We always respect your confidentiality and keep all our records secure.

Will you be able to tell me the results from my tests?

We will be able to tell you about any injuries, STI results and pregnancy tests. Unfortunately doctors do not have access to the forensic results as this is with the police. The police and CHISVA can keep you informed about this.

Follow-up care

With your agreement, our crisis worker may contact you in a couple of weeks after your visit to check you are okay.  We sometimes offer a 2 week follow-up appointment. If you do not live in Sheffield, sometimes we will refer you for support to services in your area. We will also give you information of services in your area.

Every effort is made to make sure your visit is as comfortable as possible.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

Resource number: SFG5

Resource Type: Article

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S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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