Structure: A new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) has been officially opened in Surrey, which will be run by the private provider Harmoni.

The centre will be located at Cobham Community Hospital, where it will act as a “one stop, safe place for victims of rape, sexual abuse and serious sexual assault to receive medical care, counselling and assist police investigation”.

NHS Surrey said Harmoni for Health had been awarded the service contract following a competitive tender process.

The primary care trust estimates that the SARC will support around 200 adults and 50 children each year. It will be known as the Solace Centre and will incorporate the Fernando Paediatric Suite in recognition of paediatrician Sharmalene Fernando, who began the campaign for a SARC in Surrey five years ago.

The centre was officially opened on 25 February by public health minister Anne Milton, together with NHS Surrey chair David Clayton-Smith, and detective chief superintendent Helen Collins.

Currently, there are 30 such centres in England and Wales, three of which are in the South East in Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.