Yorkshire and the Humber is the first region in the country to procure its own floating colposcope to be available to victims of sexual abuse in the region’s Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs).

A colposcope is used in forensic examinations after a sexual assault to identify and photograph internal injuries to the victim.  This evidence can be used in court proceedings.

Funded by the four regional Police and Crime Commissioners – South, West and North Yorkshire and Humberside – and NHS England, the colposcope can be made available to any of the region’s referral centres at very short notice as the equipment can be used whenever and wherever.

The equipment was purchased as an additional aide for the regional sexual assault referral service that was launched in 2016.  The service saw the opening of four regional SARC buildings in each of the counties for forensic examination and to support and give advice to victims.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The purchase of the colposcope and the opportunity to have it available within the region is welcome news for victims, practitioners and the police.

“The colposcope can be available at very short notice and will enable forensic examinations to take place wherever they might be needed – for example, in a prison or care home.  Although the sexual assault referral centres are the best place for a forensic examination, it is not always possible for the victim to attend the local centre.

“Although victims can choose to go to any of the regional SARCs, sometimes, for whatever reason, they are not able to do so.  This will reduce the need to travel and ensure that the equipment can be with the victim in their preferred location.

“The colposcope moves between the SARCs to ensure that all the region’s practitioners have the chance to use it and be fully trained.  The equipment has already been used a number of times.

“It also means that in the event of equipment failure or maintenance of the static colposcope, there is a back-up, reducing the risk of any disruption to the service.”

The regional SARC service is provided by Mountain Healthcare and is available to all adult victims of sexual assault.  Men and women can access the service in the event of a sexual assault by referral through the police or by self-referral, should they not wish to get the police involved.

Any examination after a sexual assault can provide evidence of the abuse and be stored for up to 7-years, to give a victim time to consider their options.  Help and support will be provided throughout.  The victim can lead the process in their own time and at no point will they be judged or encouraged to take action.

All of the regional SARCs have their own website that includes contact details.  The South Yorkshire SARC is known as Hackenthorpe Lodge and all of their details can be found here – https://www.hackenthorpelodge.org/