Devon and Cornwall SARC are part of the NHS and provide help and support to victims of rape or sexual assault in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  We have sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) in Exeter, Plymouth and Truro where people can receive medical care, guidance and advice from NHS professionals.  Exeter is a centre of excellence for Paediatric forensics, where special care can be given to children.  

Contact Details

Services and Support

  • Non-judgemental assistance and support for men and women and children of any age
  • Crisis support worker
  • Forensic medical facilities and examination
  • Referrals into relevant services for sexual health advice or emergency contraception
  • Support for recent sexual assault
  • Help in accessing support for historic abuse
  • Impartial advice on reporting to the police
  • Referral to an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) for emotional and practical support – support provided within Torbay
  • Support through the Criminal Justice System
  • Pre-trial counselling for those going through the Criminal Justice System 

The services provided by SARC are offered to men, women and children of any age.  Whilst having regard to an individual’s right to privacy, staff are trained in all aspects of children’s safeguarding and will, if necessary, make a referral to children’s safeguarding for a child or young person at risk. 

If you have been the victim of a recent rape or sexual assault that you have reported to the police, they will arrange to take you to the SARC in Exeter.  A crisis worker will meet you at the SARC and support you while you are there.  They will explain fully the forensic examination process and provide information on sexual health and emergency contraception.  The crisis worker will also explain to you the role of the Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) and offer to refer you to an ISVA.  There is no pressure, you will not be rushed and you will be treated at all times with dignity and respect.  The police will allocate a Sexual Offence Liaison Officer (SOLO) to you.  A SOLO is a specially trained officer who will provide you with guidance and support on the process that will be followed throughout the police investigation and any subsequent Court process.  The SOLO will meet you at the SARC. 

If you have been the victim of recent or historic sexual assault, but have not made a report to the police, you may feel you want to tell a health visitor, nurse or GP who can make a referral into the SARC on your behalf.  You can also refer yourself to the SARC.  

You don’t have to report it to the police if you don’t want to. The course of action taken will be your decision. Staff at the SARC will provide independent advice on what happens if you wish to make a report, including the option to have a forensic examination and storing the evidence until you decide whether or not you wish to make a formal report.  Forensic examinations can take place up to 7 days after an assault.   

You will be offered support from an ISVA whether or not a report has been made to the police.

If you have been referred into the SARC because of historic sexual abuse, staff will be able to refer you to Devon Rape Crisis who can offer support and counselling.  Referrals are also made to Intercom Trust for LGBT clients.