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What to expect at the SARC for children aged 0 to 9 years

Coming to the SARC

Children come to the sexual assault referral centre (SARC) when there are worries they have been hurt in some way. All children are looked at by a children’s doctor (a paediatrician). All the doctors at the SARC are women.

When you arrive you will come to our waiting room. A nurse or support worker will look after you.

We will check with the doctor to see if you can eat and drink. There is a TV and some toys to play with.

What happens next

The doctor will talk to the police officer. Then the doctor will talk to the grown up who came with you. The doctor will also want to talk to you. A nurse will stay and play with you.

Children often feel nervous when they visit. All staff at the SARC will do their best to make sure you feel looked after. If you are worried or upset, it is okay to tell someone.

Photograph of safeguarding room

The examination

The nurse will take you into a room like this.

Photograph of consultation examination room

The adult who came with you will stay with you. The nurse who played with you will also stay with you.

Everyone will need to wear a special gown and gloves. We will all look a bit silly!

There is a bed for you to lie down on.

We will do a few things.

The doctor will look at your body to make sure you are okay. They may need to look at your bottom with a special light.

We will ask you to wee into a pot. We will also touch your skin with swabs which are soft cotton wool on a stick and will not hurt.

We might take some photos with a special camera.


It is normal to feel worried or upset. If there is anything you do not like, please tell us and we will stop.


After the examination, you can have a shower if you would like to, and you can get dressed. If your clothes are dirty or if the police need to look at them we will give you new ones.

You can sit in the waiting room again whilst the adults talk.

If you are hungry, you can have a snack now. The nurse will get your food and drink whilst the adults talk a bit more.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not 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 this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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