The contribution of mental health services to a new strategic direction for sexual assault and abuse services Academic Article uri icon


  • A new strategy for sexual assault and abuse services was published by NHS England earlier this year. It called for better coordination of services along the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) pathway following a sexual assault including mental health services for children, young people and adults. Previous research has highlighted the fact that up to two-thirds of those attending SARCs either have a history of mental health problems or are being currently treated for one. The NHS England commissioning guidance for SARCs calls for clear pathways between SARCs and different types of mental health services including: Community mental health teams (CMHTs); child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) or crisis teams (CTs). In this survey of Mental Health Trusts, using freedom of information requests (FOIs) we found that very few mental health services had formally negotiated pathways with SARCs however there were several examples of good practice which it is important to report. We conclude that there is an important role for CCG and NHS England commissioners and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in improving the relationships between SARCs and Mental Health Services.

publication date

  • 2019