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Blue sky centre milestone as 1000th victim of sexual abuse is supported

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Blue sky centre

Since opening its doors in April 2013 the Blue Sky centre has now supported over 1000 clients of all ages and gender.

The Blue Sky Centre is our Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for Coventry and Warwickshire.  It is a service provided by George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Nuneaton, and commissioned by a multi-agency partnership comprising NHS England, Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Warwickshire Police.  It is situated in a building which was purpose-designed following extensive consultation with professionals and survivors of sexual abuse.  It provides a 24/7 service to victims of rape and other sexual abuse, of any age and gender.

Clients can access the services that the Blue Sky Centre offers whether they report to the police or not.  In police investigations officers will bring the client to the SARC where they will receive one to one support from a dedicated, empathetic crisis worker.  Forensic medical examinations are conducted by experienced doctors and nurses, who can also administer emergency contraception and an initial response to the risk of sexually transmitted infection.  Following the medical examination clients can shower and the Centre also has facilities for the video recording of their evidence.  To ensure a joined-up service clients are then referred for follow-up medical care and for the support and counselling provided by our partner organisations CRASAC, RoSA, Safeline and Terrence Higgins Trust.

Children are looked after in their own dedicated area, with age appropriate furniture, toys, books and DvDs. 

A key aspect of the SARC is that people can benefit from the service even if they do not want to report to police, or are unsure about doing so.  Historically sexual abuse has been grossly under-reported for a wide variety of reasons.  The SARC allows clients to talk confidentially about what has happened to them, either recently or in the past and to have the option of a medical check-up, the provision of emergency contraception and infection control, and the  opportunity to secure and store forensic evidence in case the individual later changes his or her mind about reporting the matter.  In some cases, if the identity of the offender is not known, these samples can be analysed anonymously in order to identify the attacker.  Self-referral clients can also opt to anonymously pass some intelligence about their attacker to the police in order to protect others.

Some key figures (to end of February 2016):

·        Total clients: 2013/14 - 276, 2014/15 - 383, 2015/16 (to end February) - 419

·        456 children under 18

·        147 male clients

·        294 self-referrals

·        337 referrals to GU medicine

·        514 referrals to ISVA services

·        14,668 visits to SARC website www.blueskycentre.org.uk

The Manager of The Blue Sky Centre, Tony Mumford, commented,

“It is a matter of both regret and pride that we have supported over 1000 people of every age and gender in under three years.  Regret that so many people have been subjected to appalling sexual abuse, but pride that we are giving them the quality of support that they deserve.  We are proud that our multi-agency partnership approach has created a purpose-designed centre that makes it easier for victims to come forward.”

Contact The Blue Sky Centre on 02476 865505,

www.blueskycentre.org.uk

geh-tr.theblueskycentre@nhs.net 

Note to editors

Press release provided by Blue Sky Centre

The Blue Sky Centre is a partnership between George Eliot Hospital, NHS England, Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council, Warwickshire Police, West Midlands Police and the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

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