Sexual assault referral centres: developing good practice and maximising potentials

Lovett, Jo, Regan, Linda and Kelly, Liz (2004) Sexual assault referral centres: developing good practice and maximising potentials. Technical Report. Home Office, Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, London.


In 1998 the Home Office announced the Crime Reduction Programme (CRP), which aimed to develop and implement an integrated approach to reducing crime and making communities safer. As part of this programme, the Violence Against Women Initiative (VAWI) was launched in July 2000, and specifically aimed to find out which approaches and practices were effective in supporting victims and tackling domestic violence, rape and sexual assault. Thirty-four multi-agency victim focused pilot projects were funded and aimed to develop and implement a range of interventions for various population groups in a number of different setting and contexts. The projects were originally funded until the end of March 2002; however, 24 of these projects had their funding, and in some cases their evaluations, extended until the end of March 2003. A further 24 'Second Round' projects were funded in March 2001; however these were provided with specific service provision funding and were not evaluated by the Home Office.

For evaluation purposes, the projects were divided into nine packages, and projects with similar solutions or strategies, as well as those that were operating in the same contexts, were grouped together. Seven different independent evaluation teams were commissioned to assess the projects in terms of their development, impact, overall costings and cost effectiveness. The findings from all of the evaluations have been collated and a series of research reports and concise practitioner guides are planned for both the domestic violence and rape and sexual assault projects.

This report is one of a series of reports, which specifically reports on the findings from the evaluation of a number of projects, which were funded to support victims in the aftermath of rape. This specific report focuses on the contribution of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs), and provides a valuable insight into the type of services that are needed to support victims in the aftermath of a traumatic crime such as rape. The findings are timely as many years after the original SARC in Manchester was established, a number of new SARCs have recently been established and several more are in the development stage.

Sexual-assault-referral-centres_Lovett-Regan-Kelly.pdf - Published Version

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