As part of the What Happens When series we spotlight The Topaz Centre and the services you can access from them.
About The Topaz Centre:
The Topaz Centre is a “Sexual Assault Referral Centre”.
They offer free support and practical help to anyone who has experienced sexual violence or abuse and lives in Nottinghamshire.
All healthcare professionals at Topaz are women (if you feel more comfortable with a man this can be arranged but may cause a small delay in receiving immediate care).
How does The Topaz Centre work?
Clients can assess Topaz in two ways:
Police and other professionals who may refer individuals
Self- referral pathway, in which the individual books an appointment.
If you are accessing the services as part of a police case we are provided with a “first account”, but if you come independently then Topaz will take a “full disclosure” which outlines what has happened. Topaz also offers the ability to write the account yourselves rather than having to verbally recount.
To self-refer please call the helpline or email:
0800 085 9993 and email@example.com.
Topaz has a one-hour response time, therefore once calling up the helpline Topaz should be able to see you within one hour if this suits the individual. Topaz has a 24-7 service, when calling ‘out of hours’ (before 8am and after 8pm) it depends on the nature of the situation and the level of medical need to determine the most appropriate time. When attending the Topaz Centre you will be seen by one Nurse and one Crisis Worker.
Self-referral does not involve the police unless the individual wants to – any evidence or accounts are kept on record for two years and it is up to the individual if they would like to refer the case to the police. If there is a safeguarding concern then the nurse does have a duty of care to act upon.
What happens after you’ve been referred?
You will be asked to come into the Topaz Centre for an appointment. This means that you will be the only client present during this time to remove any possibility of seeing other people. Throughout the process you will only be seen by one nurse.
Next there is a medical consultation which includes a general health screening and a mental health checkup, among other questions that might be relevant to you.
The forensic suite then conducts an assessment from ‘top to toe’. Swabs are also taken at this stage if necessary, including the use of a “colposcope”.
You are then provided with after care which includes identification of any further help needed such as emergency contraception, medication for blood borne viruses, safeguarding concerns and domestic violence.
You are encouraged to ask questions at any point if you need anything explained or feel uncomfortable.
COVID-19 Safety Procedures
Before coming into the Topaz will ask you some coronavirus screening questions. If you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or you have received a positive COVID-19 you are still able to access the services at Topaz, but nurses just need to be prepared and you will be moved into a different suite to accommodate. There are some services offered remotely due to COVID-19 and the individual’s needs. Topaz can do remote assessments at the first stage if the individual feels better doing this.
How long does the process take?
There is not a restricted time period. The process is up to the individual as Topaz understands that each individual is different, and you may need additional time for support. Sometimes individuals can be at Topaz for 2 to 4 hours. There will only be one nurse and one crisis worker assisting you, this is to make sure that you are looked after by the same faces and this may also help if you do decide to progress as a police report.
Telephone Number: 0800 085 9993
For the SARC address and details of how to get to the Topaz Centre for your arranged appointment please make sure you contact the SARC directly.
By Iona Mcnab and Kathryn Embree