Mental health in Sexual Assault Referral Centres: A survey of forensic physicians

Charlie Brooker | Health and Justice, Royal Holloway University of London, UK

Sheila Paul | Thames Valley Sexual Assault Service, UK

Coral Sirdifield | Community and Health Research Unit, University of Lincoln, UK


ABSTRACT: A national survey of Forensic Physicians (FPs) working in Sexual Assault Referral Centres was undertaken. The survey was advertised in the weekly bulletin sent out by the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. Response was relatively low (n = 45). It is estimated that this figure represents about 12% of the workforce. The aim of the survey was to investigate FPs experience of accessing mental health pathways out of a SARC for complainants of all ages. The results concurred with a previous survey of SARC clinical managers with mental health services proving unresponsive. Informed co-commissioning between NHS England and Clinical Commissioning groups can only improve if aspects of complainant’s mental health are routinely assessed within SARCs using structured outcome measures. Structured outcomes should be integrated into NHS England’s Sexual Assault Referral Centres Indicators of Performance (SARCIP).