We are a network of specialist sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) located across London and open 24/7. Our three centres work closely together to ensure that the same level of service is provided wherever a victim of sexual assault presents.

By providing a good, immediate service, we can reduce the risk of long-term problems as well as preventing the loss of evidence, which is crucial if rapists are to be convicted and prevented from committing further assaults.

We are centres of excellence and our work is internationally recognised as gold standard in the field. Since opening in 2000, we have welcomed more than 20,000 people for specialist care after rape or sexual assault.

How we are organised and commissioned

The Havens are managed by King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The service is commissioned and jointly funded by NHS England and the Metropolitan Police Service.

We are located close to three acute London hospitals: King’s College Hospital, St Mary’s Paddington and the Royal London. We also work with external health, statutory and voluntary sector agencies.

Why the Havens?

Before the first of the Havens was set up in May 2000, people who had been raped or sexually assaulted in London often had to wait for many hours, unable to drink, eat or wash, before a forensic medical examination or other services could be provided.

There were very few female doctors with the training to carry out forensic medical examinations in the capital. It was extremely difficult for assault victims to be prescribed emergency contraception and receive treatment, and prevention of STIs was not always successful. Availability of counselling and support was patchy at best.

This all changed with the introduction of the Haven Camberwell. Opened as part of the Department of Sexual Health at King’s College Hospital, it covered 12 boroughs in south London. Its success was immediate and far reaching. In the first year alone, it treated 676 people.

Such success could not be ignored and after extremely favourable evaluations by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and by the Metropolitan Police Authority, two more Havens were opened to cover other areas of London. Paddington and Whitechapel both opened their doors in 2004.

Now the three Havens provide excellent medical care, support and forensic examinations which are accessible night and day by police, medical or self-referral.

Media enquiries

For media/press enquiries relating to any of the Havens centres, contact King’s College Hospital communications team.

Tel: 020 3299 3257, Monday to Friday, 9am-5.30pm

Email: kch-tr.mediateam@nhs.net