New service for victims and survivors of sexual offences

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A new service to help victims and survivors of sexual offences in West Yorkshire will officially launch on Wednesday April 1.

It includes the opening of a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) that will see the Surviving Trauma After Rape or STAR project permanently housed in the building.

The project has been jointly funded by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and NHS England.

Anyone can make a self- referral by contacting (01924) 298954 and speak to someone between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Police officers are also able to make referrals 24 hours day.

Medical professionals from the Leeds Community Healthcare Trust will be available for assessments.

The SARC will work in partnership with Victim Support, Rape Crisis Centres and other third sector organisations which support victims and survivors of these serious crimes.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “This is a significant step forward and improvement in services for this particularly vulnerable group of victims/survivors.

“It will work alongside the new Independent Sexual Violence Adviser service I have recently commissioned which will provide a much more consistent community based service, making it easier to report such crimes and receive the after-care support needed to cope with and recover from the consequences of such awful crimes.

“I have worked towards making sure we have a SARC here in West Yorkshire and this opening reflects my commitment to ensure we are delivering the right services for victims when they need them ensuring we are giving vulnerable victims the best possible support and care in the county.”

West Yorkshire Police, Chief Constable Dee Collins said: “We are fully committed to ensuring victims of these horrendous crimes have access to the best possible care and support.

“This newly established service will consider the individual needs of those who require our help, bringing together the relevant partners.

“We hope that it will encourage an increased reporting of these offences and see more perpetrators brought before the Courts.”

NHS England, Head of Health and Justice Commissioning for Yorkshire and the Humber, Chris Jewesbury said:

“We wholeheartedly welcome the opening of this important service which will provide much-needed help and support to those who have been victims of such a terrible crime.

“We hope that by having such a service within West Yorkshire, those who have been affected by rape and sexual assault will be able to benefit from the very best of care on offer along with help to access the ongoing support that they need.”