» Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs)

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service is proposing to establish a project to develop accreditation for Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) to ISO 15189:2012 – Medical Laboratories - Requirements for quality and competence; ILAC G19: 2014 Modules in Forensic Science and to the Forensic Science Regulators Codes of Practice (FSR) Standard FSR-C-116. Additional guidance can be found in FSR-G-212.

The international standard ISO 15189 specifies general requirements for competence and quality that are particular to medical laboratories. SARC services are essential to patient care and therefore have to be available to meet the needs of all patients and the clinical personnel responsible for the care of those patients. Such services include arrangements for the examination requests, patient preparation, collection of samples, transport, storage, examination of patient and collection of clinical samples, together with subsequent interpretation, reporting and advice, in addition to the considerations of safety and ethics.

The Forensic Science Regulator Code of Practice details the specific forensic requirements of these dedicated services providing high quality healthcare alongside forensic medical examination. The importance of correct collection of evidence, avoidance of contamination, and continuity ensuring the best outcome for evidence protection, has considerable benefits for the health and well-being and delivery of justice for patients and the community.

UKAS issued an Expression of Interest in August 2019 and asked for anyone to express an interest to participate in the pilot programme by 31st January 2020.

Following the issue of an Expression of Interest notice, UKAS hosted an interested parties meeting with 25 attendees on 5th May 2020 to discuss the requirements of the pilot assessment programme.

The following documents relating to this project have now been published, Sexual Assault Examination: Requirements and Guidance for Forensic Science Related Evidence: the sexual assault examination: requirements for forensic science related evidence document (FSR-C-116) and the associated guidance document (FSR-G-212).

The project team hosted drop in sessions for the SARC’s project for stakeholders to bring any questions they may have on the project.

> See SARCs Drop In Sessions Q&As

Sexual Assault Referral Centres – UKAS Assisted Application Scheme (UAAS)

Through our engagement with you, our interested parties and stakeholders, we know that due to the Coronavirus pandemic not everyone will be ready to proceed/participate in the Pilot for the Sexual Assault Referral Centres until later in the year. If you are in this situation please contact UKAS to discuss your anticipated timeline with us.

If you are not yet ready but would appreciate the benefit of UKAS support on your journey to achieving the FSR Milestone targets please register your interest in the UAAS with Emily.Robinson@ukas.com

The UKAS Assisted Application Scheme has been designed to support you in progressing through the FSR Milestone targets in order to achieve accreditation before the deadline of 1st October 2023.

For the registration fee of £1500 you will receive –

  • Access to the on-line learning materials produced in support of the pilot
  • Access to a review of compliance at each stage via UKAS Assessors
  • Access to UKAS guidance documentation produced during the pilot
  • And, your application for accreditation free of charge (normally £1500).

You will be able to move at your own pace through the modules with the support of our experienced training and project team.

If you are interested and want to know more, please contact Emily.Robinson@ukas.com