survivors manchester

Sexual Assault Referral Centre


The Centre

St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) was established in 1986 as a joint venture between Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Police Authority and Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University NHS Trust.

The centre aims to provide a comprehensive and co-ordinated forensic; support; counselling and medical aftercare service to people in Greater Manchester who have experienced rape or sexual assault/abuse.

St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)
St Mary’s Hospital
Oxford Road
M13 9WL

What To Do If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted

St. Mary’s Centre is available to men, women and children that live in or were assaulted in Greater Manchester.
If you are an adult and have experienced sexual abuse in the past we can support you through a criminal prosecution and offer therapeutic counselling.

If this does not apply to you:
Please approach your local police or see the services on our Links page.

If this does apply to you:
You can access the Centre either as a self-referral or via Greater Manchester Police. A referral can also be made by another agency on your behalf and with your consent. Anyone who reports to Greater Manchester Police because s/he has been sexually assaulted will be offered the Centre’s services as part of their reposnse to sexual violence.

Self Referral

If you do not wish to report the matter to the police, you can refer yourself by contacting the Centre by telephone. You will be offered an appointment to attend. If you present yourself at the Centre without prior contact we may not be able to respond as we could be dealing with other cases. The police will not be contacted without your consent. A forensic medical examination will be conducted by a specially trained doctor to undertake a medical examination; documenting any injuries; taking forensic samples and providing assessment for other medical issues and treatment where apporpriate. A crisis worker will also be available to support you. Any samples taken will be stored at the Centre should you wish to make a report at a later date. You will alos be offered the opportunity to provide police with certain information without disclosing your identity

Police Referral

If you want to report the matter to the police, contact your local station and they will arrange to bring you to the Centre for a forensic examination if appropriate. With your consent, a forensic medical examination will be conducted by a specially trained doctor. to undertake a medical examination; documenting any injuries; taking foresnci samples and providing assessment for other medical issues and treatment where appropriate A crisis worker will also be available to support you. If the police are involved with your complaint, then any medical records can and will be seen by both the defence and prosecution lawyers, should the case go to court.

The Forensic Medical Examination

The St. Mary’s Centre conducts the forensic medical examinations of people reporting a recent sexual assault to Greater Manchester Police. All of our doctors are female, very experienced and well trained. We will also examine self-referrals that do not want to have police involvement.

The forensic medical examination is a top-to-toe physical examination looking for injuries and taking samples that may be used as evidence in a police investigation and any subsequent prosecution. Further health needs will be assessed and discussed, such as post coital contraception and assessment for HIV and Hep B.

A (female) Crisis Worker meets the client at the Centre and liases with the doctor and the attending police officers to make the client’s time at the Centre and the examination as easy as possible

The examination, or any aspect of it, will not proceed without the explicit informed consent of the client. The Centre will not contact the police unless the client wishes us to do so. Please note: All information will be held in confidence by the Centre unless there areconcerns for your or anothers safety. If a prosecution results then medical notes may be requested by the Court.

Aftercare and Support

If you do not want an examination you can still access the Centre for support and counselling. This is available even if the assault took place a long time ago. Counselling is also available to partners and relatives of survivors of sexual assault. The forensic examination service is available 24 hours a day by appointment only. Counselling and support appointments must be booked in advance during office hours (9.00am to 5.00pm).


Support is available via an Independent Sexual Violence (ISVA) who will offer support through the crimincal justice process and advise and support you with other practical issues.

This may include:

  • Support through police interview
  • Support at court
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation claims
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Facilitate access to other support healthcare services

The Centre also has a 24 hour telephone support and information line. This is not a telephone counselling service but can offer some support and advice

Remember, we’re here to help.

Stakeholders & Fundraisers

Helpline: 0808 800 5005