Thanks for your interest in the MiMoS study. This section will explain what our aim is and what we plan to do. You may be reading this as a potential participant who wants to know more, or you may work in a service that supports people who have experienced sexual assault as a child and/or adult. 

Our Aim…

Our aim is to examine how sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) identify mental health and substance use problems (both pre-existing and emerging problems) and how the SARCs work with other agencies to ensure that service users get the right help, at the right time, in the right place. The NIHR HS&DR programme that funds research related to health services has funded two studies (The MiMoS study and the MESARCH study) to examine several key areas in order to see how well SARCs are working, and how things could be improved, to make sure that people who attend get their needs met. Here is the link to the MiMoS study:


Our focus is on understanding how staff and services work well together, as well as identifying what doesn’t work so well.  At the end of the research we will make recommendations to improve the care for people with mental health and substance use following sexual violence.

The Study…

Our study consists of several consecutive phases:

1. Literature Review

A literature review of all the currently available published work on SARCs and on mental health issues and produce a report that brings all the findings together.

2. National Survey

Create a survey asking questions about mental health assessment, support, and working with other agencies. This will be distributed to all SARCs. The findings will help us to group SARCs according to their ways of working

3. Prevalence Study

Needs assessment (also called a prevalence study) where we will ask people attending SARCs, and who have agreed to take part in the research to complete brief questionnaires to identify the types of mental health and substance use problems that they are experiencing, as well as asking about what help they currently receive. We will not be asking any specific questions about the assault (except whether it was recent or non-recent). We will then follow up with these people after 6 months to see what happens to them over that time, whether they get the care they need at the right time, how satisfied they feel about their treatment, and how often and what services they have used

4. Case Studies

We will approach  6 SARCs (and other local mental health, counselling, and substance use services they may refer to) to undertake more in depth interviews, focus groups and documentary analysis involving staff and people who use the services. The focus will be to understand how they work with mental health and substance use needs, how they work across other services, care pathways, workforce training needs, and ultimately learn what works for whom and in what circumstance, as well as identifying any gaps and blocks people may experience in getting their needs met.

5. Comparison of SARCs and other NHS mental health services

We will analyse an anonymised clinical database from a SARC service (which has its own psychological therapy service) and compare it with data from a mental health trust to see whether there are differences in mental health outcomes

6. Creating Resources

We will use our findings to create a range of resources to help improve the mental health and substance use outcomes for people who have experienced sexual assault. These will be created for a range of people including survivors, SARC commissioners and staff, and wider health and social care staff. We will use press, social media and face to face events to promote our findings. Throughout all this work we will be working in partnership with people with lived experience to develop reports designed for users, carers and staff who work in relevant services so that services can be improved or adapted depending on what we find. All our studies will be conducted with respect and sensitivity.