Rowan available over festive season

Staff at The Rowan, the regional Sexual Assault Referral Centre for Northern Ireland, are reminding people that their service is available to anyone who has experienced sexual violence or abuse, including anyone sexually assaulted over the festive season.

The Centre has been accepting referrals since May, providing services and support to over 300 people who have been sexually abused, assaulted or raped. The service is available 24/7, 365 days a year and anyone affected by sexual abuse can self-refer by calling 0800 389 4424 or report to the police.

Karen Douglas, Manager of The Rowan for the Northern Trust, said: “Many people will be enjoying the Christmas festivities at this time and we would urge people to also keep their personal safety in mind.”

“We are also keen to remind people of the services offered at The Rowan so if anyone experiences sexual abuse, assault or rape they know they can access the necessary support 24/7. The Rowan is a purpose-built centre which is safe and secure and has highly experienced staff who will work to ensure individuals affected by sexual abuse or violence receive the support or guidance required.”

The Rowan provides a co-ordinated package of care to promote recovery and wellbeing and, if requested by the service-user, works in collaboration with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to greatly enhance the investigative process. Further information on the service, including details on confidentiality, can be found on The Rowan website at

Inspector Anne Marks, from the Police Service said, “Sexual violence and abuse, whether it has occurred recently or in the past, has affected many lives. I would encourage anyone who has experienced sexual violence or abuse to contact the Rowan directly where you will receive a high quality of service or alternatively contact the police who will support you. Remember in an emergency or life threatening situation dial 999.”

The range of services offered at the Rowan includes:

Forensic medical examination by a specially trained doctor. Forensic evidence can be stored until the individual makes a decision whether or not they wish to report to the Police;
Emergency contraception;
A course of treatment to help prevent the onset of HIV in those who are at risk (this must be administered within 72 hours of the assault);
Screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections;
Emotional support;
Support in making a report to the Police;
Referral on to counselling and/or other appropriate support services;
Follow-up support; and
A 24 hour advice and information line 0800 389 4424.

The Rowan is a regional facility managed by the Northern Trust; jointly funded by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the PSNI.

20th December 2013

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