The experiences of sexually assaulted people attending Saint Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre for a forensic medical examination

Rabiya Majeed-Ariss, Tammi Walker, Paige Lee, Catherine White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study explores the experiences of people who have attended Saint Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for a forensic medical examination (FME). Within the United Kingdom, SARCs support complainants following a sexual assault, delivering specialised care and gathering medico-legal evidence for court proceedings. To date, there has been limited research evaluating SARCs responses towards complainants. 863 Feedback and Evaluation forms, from a three-year period, completed by clients who had accessed Saint Mary's SARC's forensic medical examination service were evaluated. Descriptive statistical analysis found a large majority of clients were 'very satisfied' with the crisis worker, forensic physician and police. Content analysis of the free text responses found more nuanced experiences, which impacted clients overall experience within the SARC. These comments were split into two themes, 'Compliments' and 'Suggestions for improvement'. There were 404 comments focusing on compliments of the service and the staff. Compliments included messages of thanks, with praise for professionalism of the staff and importance of the service. Clients noted in particular that the FME service was delivered in challenging circumstances i.e. the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault. There were 34 comments which made suggestions for improvements. These suggestions focused on pragmatic and logistic issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Early online date5 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


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