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A true haven: King’s treatment and support centre for victims of sexual assault is praised by care regulator

The Havens is London’s only referral service for children and adults of all genders who have experienced sexual assault within the past twelve months.

Jointly commissioned by NHS England and the Mayor’s Office for Crime and Policing, The Havens has three site across the capital; Denmark Hill, Paddington, and Whitechapel.

It operates 24/7 for patients who either self-present or who are referred after contacting police, or via social workers.

Its team aims to see those who need urgent care within 90 minutes of calling and then coordinates follow-up care, counselling and treatment.

Care Quality Commission inspectors visited the three sites in May of this year, all of which are run by King’s NHS Trust. In a report published at the end of October, its work was praised in all key areas.

Inspectors emphasised how staff treated patients with dignity, respect and compassion, and took care to protect their privacy and personal information.

Patient feedback shows than more than 96 per cent of patients were satisfied with the care they received, with comments typically praising it as being clean, comfortable and putting their needs first.

Inspectors also commended staff training and support, and their “stringent” adherence to cleaning forensic examination rooms, preventing cross-contamination of vital evidence.

The report explained: “We receive 29 completed comments cards from patients who had used the service in the two weeks prior to our inspection.

“Most of these comments were positive and highlighted that staff were caring, supportive, warm, welcoming and friendly. Some patients told us they felt safe and were not judged.”

At the centre, patients who have self-referred can choose whether or not to involve the police and provide forensic samples. Interpreters and signers are available for anyone who needs them and all clinicians are female.

After physical examinations patients are offered toiletries and a shower in private, with clean clothes provided.

Collected evidence is retained for up for one year with the agreement of the patient, who can ask for them to be destroyed at any time.

Three patients inspectors spoke with directly said “staff had been very kind, caring and compassionate and had helped them deal with their experience.”

One told them their life had changed for the better since they were treated at the centre, and the support had exceeded their expectations.

In all, the report found The Havens was performing well in safety, effectiveness, care, responsiveness and being well-led.


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