Given the staff crisis across our health service and the precarious funding situation afflicting its provider, King’s, it is an absolute credit to its hard-working and caring team at The Havens that it has gained such high praise from the CQC.
The Havens gives confidential care and treatment to patients who have suffered sexual assault within the last 12 months, including children.
It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and its medical and emotional services are all confidential.
In urgent cases its medical staff will do their utmost to make sure patients are seen within 90 minutes. This is crucial when it comes to collecting evidence that could catch the attacker and make sure they are put behind bars.
But for those who aren’t sure whether they want to tell the police, they can take evidence and store it for up to a year. After the patient has had the time they need to make an informed choice, they can either take things forward or have the evidence destroyed.
Rape prosecutions in England and Wales are at the lowest level in a decade, down 36 per cent in a year. Convictions have also fallen by a quarter, figures from the Crown Prosecution Service show.
There are many reasons why cases could collapse before making it to court or fail to result in prosecution – but often lack of evidence is cited.
That’s why services that are non-judgemental and staffed with specialists who have the right training and best resources are so important.
The Havens is a unique example in London. And though its team works closely with the police it also recognises that some victims will not want to involve them – or may not, until they feel ready.
Knowing there is a place like The Havens in Camberwell will give some measure of comfort to victims. And it could make all the difference in catching those responsible for such reprehensible crimes.