Group of female colleagues sat in meeting.



This study/project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research programme [16/117/04]. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

National Institute for Health Research.

Lead academic

Dr Lorna O’Doherty, Associate Professor, Behaviour Implementation Science, Centre for Intelligent Healthcare

Project overview

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.

To find out more about us and our cutting edge work, please visit our website.

To find out more about us, please contact

Follow us on Twitter: @TheMesarchStudy

Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) Infographic

Using data gathered directly from SARC managers, in coordination with the MIMOS project and from analysis of NHS England SARC data, the MESARCH team have developed this infographic with the aim of raising the visibility of SARCs.

We understand how valuable it is for providers to know what to do and who to contact at the point of disclosure, so please use this infographic to learn more about SARCs and how they can help.

Download the SARC Infographic

We have produced briefing papers that highlight the key findings from our Cochrane Reviews into interventions for sexual assault, and experiences and perspectives of survivors, supporters and practitioners. Separate briefings are available for commissioners, providers and practitioners, and survivors.

Read the Independent Review of Survivor Involvement in the MESARCH Project
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