By KLTV Newsdesk –
For victims and survivors of sexual assault in West Yorkshire, it can sometimes be difficult to access the medical help and support services needed.
Thankfully, The Hazelhurst Centre Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) – a new facility that officially opened last year – is a purpose-built facility providing both Children and Adult Services in the region.
Together with partners, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, and the new Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe, recently toured the state of the art centre, in order to raise awareness for victims and survivors.
The Hazelhurst Centre provides care and assessment for child victims and a separate service for adults where specially trained staff deliver medical help and support as required.
Jointly commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement, the building also includes a live video link with the courts, suites for video-recorded interviews, waiting rooms, a hub for specialist support services and referral to Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA).
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority YouTube channel released a video of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s visit to the facility, where they speak about their experiences, and urge victims and survivors to get support.
Reflecting on her visit to the centre, Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said: “The visit to the SARC holds particular significance to me, having previously shared my own story with the House of Commons.
“I was subject to an attempted rape during my time at University, and I know all too well the personal burden that can come with it.
“This is why this facility is so vitally important in ensuring victims and survivors can access the very best medical, practical and emotional support available.”
‘Dedicated and modern facilities’
Alison Lowe, West Yorkshire, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime said: “During our visit, we were able to follow the journey of those using the facility and see for ourselves how the experience of victims and survivors.
“It was really reassuring to see the dedicated and modern facilities on offer, whilst learning about the extremely sensitive and compassionate way in which the team operate.
“When it happened to me, facilities like this were not around and I did not believe that I had a voice.
“Here, you will be heard and your best interest are at heart.”
‘Supported in the best way possible’
The Hazelhurst Centre SARC works closely with law enforcement to ensure the protection of the victims and survivors while at the facility.
West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson said: “SARC is a fantastic facility as it provides a safe place for victims and survivors of sexual assault to come and receive the support they need.
“We are committed to working with our partners to ensure that victims are treated sensitively and supported in the best way possible, and this facility has ensured that all the services they need, as they navigate through their ordeal, is accessible to them under one roof and we support the ongoing work that it provides.”
‘Highest clinical standards’
Julie Dhuny, Head of Health and Justice for the NHS in the North of England added: “We are delighted to have been involved in the development of this state-of-the-art facility, developed in collaboration with victims and survivors to ensure that services are delivered to the highest clinical standards.”
Those who wish to find out more about the West Yorkshire SARC can visit their website: https://www.hazlehurstcentre.org