Sexual Assault Responders (SARs)

This page explains the role of Sexual Assault Responders, how to access them, and what a student can expect from a meeting.

What is a Sexual Assault Responder?

SARs provide immediate support to victims of serious sexual assault or rape at the Canterbury and Medway campuses out of hours (between 17.00 and 9.00) and at weekends. The role is to give advice and guidance to victims of serious sexual assault or rape with regards to aftercare support procedures. 

The University currently has over 20 trained members of staff who are paid Sexual Assault Responders (SARs).


How to access a Sexual Assault Responder

  • Firstly, a student must request Sexual Assault Responder (SAR) support via Campus Security by calling 01227 823333 in case of emergencies or 01227 823300 for non-emergencies. 
  • At that point, Campus Security will check the immediate safety of the student and make arrangements if needed. They will also ask for name and contact details to be passed onto SAR and check that the student is ok to call the first person on SAR Rota (by checking for gender and department). 
  • The SAR will make initial contact with the student via telephone and discuss whether a face to face appointment is needed. If face to face is preferred, arrangements will be made. 
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What will happen when I meet the Sexual Assault Responder

  • The SAR will then have a conversation with the student about confidentiality. The student will be made aware that a reporting form will be completed and passed to the Specialist Wellbeing Adviser to follow up and offer ongoing support if needed. 
  • The student will be provided with a written copy of the SAR reporting form, which will be theirs to keep safe and can be useful if they decide to go to the police at a later stage. 
  • There is a vast range of things students can talk to SARs about, including:
    • Practical support (for example, accessing emergency accommodation)
    • Sexual health options (for example, emergency contraception)
    • Reporting options (that is, reporting to the police or to the university)
    • Going to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) via the police, or referring themselves.

It is important that students know that the police will not be called without the consent of the student unless there is an immediate threat to life.

  • The SAR can also make Taxi arrangements should the student wish to go to the police or to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
  • The SAR will ask for a brief account of what happened, which will be recorded. The student does not have to provide detail if they do not wish to. And finally, they will ensure that the student gets home safely at the end of the appointment.

Alternative format - PDF visual guide

Would you prefer a more visual guide to this content? This information is also available as a PDF download, formatted for printing to a single side of A4.

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