97 women in the Northern Trust area have accessed services at The Rowan

During its first year of operation, 97 females affected by sexual violence and sexual abuse have attended The Rowan, from the Northern Trust area.

The Rowan is the only regional Sexual Assault and Referral Centre in Northern Ireland. It is managed by the Northern Trust and provides a one-stop location for victims who have experienced sexual assault, whether recently or in the past.

86% of the total attendees to The Rowan in its first year have been women. Sexual abuse and sexual violence affects people across the age range and the Rowan has offered support and services to females from infants up to older females in their nineties. In total 446 females attended the Rowan, 173 were children and young people i.e. under 18 years of age. The age range of females most frequently engaging with the service has been 18-25 year olds.

The centre also provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated package of care to promote recovery and wellbeing with follow-up support and a 24 hours advice and information line.

All children and young people are offered review appointments with Consultant Paediatricians and 86% of girls attended these appointments. There has also been a very high level of engagement with those women over the age of 16 with 74% attending appointments offered to them.

The Rowan can also support service users in making a report to the police, either at the time of the assault or at a later date. The Rowan will work in collaboration with officers at the initial stages of the investigation, ensuring the victims’ needs are comprehensively assessed and met.

Karen Douglas, Service Manager for the Rowan, commented: “At the Rowan we understand the devastation sexual violence can have on the lives of individuals and families. We are pleased that those females who have accessed services have been helped by the care they received. Moving into our second year we want to ensure that everyone affected by sexual violence knows the Rowan is here to help. By working together and keeping victims at the heart of the service, we can ensure they receive the best care possible and whatever support they may require to rebuild their lives.”

The Rowan provides services for all victims, including men, regardless of age, ethnicity, ability or sexual orientation.

Feedback obtained from service users to the Rowan has highlighted a very high satisfaction rate from attendees who spoke positively about the care they received, with the majority of individuals’ choosing to return to the centre and engage with the follow-up sexual health service.

The Rowan is a specialist regional facility managed by the Northern Trust and jointly funded by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

If anyone wants to contact the Rowan they can phone the team on 0800 389 4424, 24 hours per day. Further information on the services provided can be found on The Rowan website at www.therowan.net.

7th November 2014

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