Clients from ethnic and local communities in Greater Manchester attending St. Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre

J Clin Forensic Med. 2003 Dec;10(4):221-9. doi: 10.1016/S1353-1131(03)00107-X.


Introduction: St. Mary's Centre conducts forensic examinations on behalf of Greater Manchester Police. The sexual assault rate (and reporting to police) across ethnic communities is of some debate. An audit was conducted to assess recording of clients' ethnicity, and representation of clients from local and ethnic communities of Greater Manchester County.

Methodology: Performances of recording ethnicity, area of residence, and assault type relevant to all new clients in 2001 (n=653) were measured against standards. Figures relating to local and ethnic populations were also compared to 1991 Census data as a guide.

Results: Recording clients' ethnicity and assault type were below required standards, recording area of residence was above. Overall ethnic minority representation was above general population figures, but differences existed within communities. Manchester city resident clients were over-represented compared to other county boroughs.

Conclusions: Factors affecting record-keeping included: client's awareness of the assault; if the client was a police referral; if an examination was conducted. The high number of black clients accounted for the 'over-representation' of ethnic minorities, masking under-representation of other ethnic communities. The 'over-representation' of Manchester city residents is considered to be a function of the Centre's Manchester location, and the city's greater opportunities for late-night socialising.