MESARCH is a groundbreaking long-term prospective study into the health and wellbeing of survivors of sexual assault, rape and abuse. It will be the UK’s most comprehensive evaluation of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) to date.
With backing from NHS England and £1.3m in funding from the National Institute for Health Research, MESARCH will examine the benefits and costs of SARCs to service users, including the interventions and support that SARCs offer, the SARC workforce, the technologies they use, and the wider sexual assault services context, with widespread engagement of rape crisis centres and other third sector agencies. Our slogan, ‘A Thousand Voices for Change’ brings together survivors as participants from across the country and collaboration with a range of academics, charities, the NHS and police. The work is co-produced with people with lived experience of abuse.
MESARCH commenced in September 2018 and runs for 4 years. It was commissioned by the NIHR’s Health Services and Research Delivery Programme (16/117/04). Our work is being led by Dr Lorna O’Doherty based at Coventry University in partnership with University of Bristol, University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, Rape Crisis England and Wales, police and several charity partners. Findings will be presented at the highest level nationally and be used to understand good practice and areas for improvement and will influence future direction of travel around commissioning. Regions will be expected to respond to the findings and recommendations.
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Dr Lorna O’Doherty, Associate Professor, Behaviour Implementation Science, Centre for Intelligent Healthcare