Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) offer medical, practical and emotional support after rape or sexual assault. They have specially trained NHS doctors, nurses and support workers to care for you. The SARC services are for women, men and children.

If you decide to report the assault to the police, they can arrange for you to attend a SARC for medical care and, if you wish, a forensic medical examination.

If you are unsure about whether to report to the police or not, you can still refer yourself to a SARC for assessment, medical treatment, sexual health advice and emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy.

If you refer yourself to a SARC and are considering reporting the assault to the police, the centre can arrange for you to have an informal talk with a specially trained police officer, who can explain what is involved. You can refer yourself by calling 0300 3034626 or by submitting a short self-referral form and the SARC will call you back at a time you specify.

There are also specially trained advisers available in some SARCs or voluntary organisations to help people who have been sexually assaulted. These independent sexual violence advisers (ISVA) can help victims get access to the other support services they need. They will also support you through the criminal justice system if you decide to report the assault to the police, including supporting you through the trial, should the case go to court.

Devon & Cornwall SARC are part of the NHS and operate sexual assault referral centres in Exeter, Plymouth and Truro.

You can find out more or access support by visiting www.sarchelp.co.uk

Did you find this page useful?

Accessing our service

In response to the emergence of COVID-19 we have implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

We are currently experiencing high demand for our Sexual Health Services across Devon and Torbay with unprecedented demand in Exeter. Please note always review urgent cases the same day. If your need is urgent and you are struggling to reach us keep trying as our phone system will explain how to access same-day care with us.

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception here.

Self-requested STI testing by post is available for those aged under 25- more info

We are now running an under 18’s sit and wait clinic at Exeter, Torquay, and Barnstaple for more information click here

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - from a local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info