What’s our project creating?

Project updates and publications



Please click here to view our video highlighting the issue of abuse in young people’s relationships. The video contains themes of domestic violence and abuse which some viewers may find distressing. You can read more about the campaign on our News and Events page.

Brown S, Carter G, Halliwell G, Brown K, Caswell R, Howarth E, Feder G & O’Doherty L (2022) Survivor, family and professional experiences of psychosocial interventions for sexual abuse and violence: a qualitative evidence synthesis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Oct 4;10(10):CD013648. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013648.pub2. PMID: 36194890; PMCID: PMC9531960.

Please click here to view the publication.

O’Doherty L, Carter G, Lutman-White E, Caswell R, Jackson L, Feder G, Heron J, Morris R & Brown K (2022) Multi-disciplinary Evaluation of Sexual Assault Referral Centres for better Health (MESARCH): protocol for a 1-year cohort study examining health, well-being and cost outcomes in adult survivors of sexual assault attending SARCs in England. BMJ Open. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-057449

Please click here to view the publication.


Please click here for the Mesarch Briefing Paper 1 that highlights early findings from the Multi-disciplinary Evaluation of Sexual Assault Referral Centres for better Health.

Please click here to view the Photovoice pilot production of the MESARCH Lived Experience Group. You can read more about the group here.

Map of SARCs Infographic 

We have developed this infographic with the aim of raising the visibility of sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) in England, and for it to be useful to a whole range of individuals who work in settings where survivors may seek help or healthcare. This infographic derives from data that we gathered directly from SARC managers, in coordination with the MIMOS project, and also from our analysis of NHS England and NHS Improvement data.  We know, from our participants in the MESARCH cohort study, just 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.

Please click here to view the infographic.


Brown, S. J., Khasteganan, N., Carter, G. J., Brown, K., Caswell, R., Howarth, E., Feder, G.,& O’Doherty, L. (2020). Survivor, family and professional perspectives of psychosocial interventions for sexual abuse and violence: A qualitative evidence synthesis (Protocol). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013648

Please click here to view the publication.

Social distancing and impacts on sexual violence and recovery
The MESARCH study continued during Covid-19. Please visit our blog to see how we adapted our project during the pandemic.


Brown SJ, Khasteganan N, Brown K, Hegarty K, Garter GJ, Tarzia L, Feder G, O’Doherty L. Psychosocial interventions for survivors of rape and sexual assault experienced during adulthood. Cochrane database of Systematic Review 2019, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD013456. DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD013456

Please click here to view the publication.


April 2021 – Dec 2021

Project webinar
We held a successful knowledge-sharing webinar in May 2021 where we unveiled some of our preliminary findings. The event was attended by around 150 delegates including researchers, sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) staff, police, charity/third sector support services, NHS staff and social work staff. Our briefing paper highlights early findings from MESARCH and includes links to presentations from the webinar.

‘Photovoice’ project
Our lived experience group created a powerful ‘photovoice’ production. Members of our lived experience group shared and narrated images representing their journeys in relation to their experiences of sexual assault and abuse. They also shared their views about the importance of lived experience within research and their experiences of being involved in MESARCH. The video was unveiled at the May 2021 webinar and received an overwhelmingly positive response. Please click here to view the video.

We have developed an infographic, in coordination with the MIMOS project, providing a snapshot of SARC care and service provision. The aim of the infographic is to raise the visibility of SARCs in England and is intended to be useful for a range of individuals who work in settings where survivors may seek help or healthcare.

Understanding the needs of SARC service users
Information has been gathered about 2500 people who attended SARCs. This included data about service users’ gender, age and ethnicity, their relationship to the person(s) who perpetrated sexual assault against them, any vulnerabilities they might experience at point of entry to SARC and how they were referred to such services. We are grateful for the support we received from SARCs to collect this data. We are comparing this SARC data with national crime survey data to look at any similarities and differences between SARC service users and the wider population of those who have experienced sexual violence and abuse.

Longitudinal study
As a result of the extremely hard work and commitment of our project team, SARCs and third sector staff and agencies across England we have been able to recruit 337 participants into the MESARCH study. Recruitment to the longitudinal study has now closed. We would like to thank SARCs, third sector organisations and other agencies for their tremendous support in achieving this aim. We would also like to thank the participants for their willingness and courage to contribute to the research and share their stories with us. We are now continuing to follow up participants at 6 months and at 12 months.

Children and young people’s study (MESARCH-CYP)
An important element of MESARCH is finding out the views of children and young people age 13-17. We are working with two SARC areas and associated charity and third sector organisations on MESARCH-CYP. To date, we have spoken to a small number of young people about their recovery journeys and their experiences of support. We are grateful for the support we have received so far in making this part of the research possible and we hope to increase our number of CYP participants over the coming months.

Lived Experience Group
Our lived experience group continues to support all aspects of our research and they have been integral to the success of MESARCH. Moving forward, we are now thinking about the dissemination of our findings and are beginning to develop publications – we are receiving important input from the Lived Experience Group on these aspects of the research. You can read more about the group here.

Literature reviews
The team is also been undertaking two Cochrane Reviews into interventions for sexual assault, and experiences and perspectives of survivors, supporters and practitioners. These reviews have now been completed and submitted to Cochrane for feedback.

We shared some of our early findings at the Sexual Violence and Health Research Network annual meeting in November. We are planning a conference devoted to sharing a wide range of findings from MESARCH which will take place on the 7th December 2022.

There is just one year remaining of this project (due to end in January 2023) and we hope you will help us to maximise what it can achieve. If you would like to hear more, or contribute to our Lived Experiences Group, please get in touch. We would like to thank all those individuals and organisations who have supported us in undertaking this ground-breaking research. By the end of the project together we will have created high quality research evidence that will inform future decision-making in relation to survivor support and care.