Safe haven for survivors of sexual assault in Cambridgeshire is celebrating its first anniversary

Official opening at the Elms earlier this year: From left to right, DCI Jon McAdam, Victims’ Commiss

Official opening at the Elms earlier this year: From left to right, DCI Jon McAdam, Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove, Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite and Rachel Matheson SARC Manager at The Elms. - Credit: Archant

A centre that offers a safe haven to deal with survivors of sexual assault is celebrating its first year.

Cambridgeshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is set to mark its anniversary as The Elms, based at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon.

The Elms provides survivors with a safe place to receive medical aftercare, forensic examinations, support and anonymously report assaults.

In the past 11 months the centre has supported 247 clients, of which 30 self-referred. Of these, 161 were adults and 86 were under 18.

It also has dedicated facilities for children and young people, including paediatric clinics.

Support is available 24/7 to anyone who has experienced sexual abuse by calling 0800 193 5434 .

Manager Rachel Matheson said: “The Elms supports abuse survivors when they are at their most vulnerable, ensuring they receive the highest quality care and ongoing support.

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“The service we give survivors is vital and I am pleased we have been able to help 247 survivors of all ages and genders.

“While we work closely with the police I would like to reassure anyone who attends the centre that everything they tell us is confidential and will not be reported as a crime unless they specifically ask.”

Jacqui Campey from the Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership, said: “The Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership offer survivors specialist support after the trauma of sexual violence.

“We recognise that strength comes from working in partnership with organisations like The Elms SARC to ensure the best possible outcome for survivors of sexual violence giving them the means to move forward positively.”

Services at The Elms are provided by Mountain Healthcare Ltd, who are commissioned to provide forensic healthcare services by the NHS and police, and regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

The Elms services are closely supported by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership, Embrace, Peterborough Women’s Aid, Victims Hub, and Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, said: “The SARC here in Cambridgeshire is already receiving national recognition and is being held up as a beacon of best practice. We should rightly be proud of our achievement in ensuring victims of these serious offences are wrapped in a blanket of care and support.”

• Visit The Elms website at which includes an option to hide the webpage from your browser history.

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