A new £900,000 centre providing up-to-date forensic examination and support facilities for adult victims of rape and serious sexual assault has officially opened.
The new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) was unveiled by Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa during an event on Friday.
The new unit, which cost £913,147 to develop and was funded by the PCC, contains advanced forensic facilities for adults which meet the new UKAS Forensic Standards which will become mandatory in 2021.
Mr Dhindsa said: “Victims who receive prompt specialist help have a much higher chance of recovery and it is vital we deliver services with the highest sensitivity in mind to increase trust and confidence in the judicial process and encourage many more victims to come forward.
The facility contains three ground floor examination suites, including one with disabled access, which provide self-contained and confidential space for victims of recent rape or serious sexual assault who access the centre.
There is also a suite of meeting and counselling rooms, including provision of art therapy for children, giving both adults and children access to ongoing support from Derbyshire-based sexual violence specialists SV2, which manage the unit, and its team of independent sexual violence advisors, crisis workers, online safety officer and counsellors.
Sally Goodwin, chief executive of SV2, said: “This new facility will significantly improve the experience of vulnerable victims and survivors at a time when they need it most.”
She added: “This investment is a clear indication by the PCC and the force of their commitment to supporting victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse across Derbyshire.”