Sexual Referral Centre wins major award

The Sexual Health Clinic at The Rowan Sexual Assault Referral Centre has won a major award at the UK Sexual Health Awards 2015.

The Rowan Centre at Bush Road, Antrim is the regional Sexual Assault and Referral Centre for Northern Ireland. It is managed by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and brings together in one place, health, social care and criminal justice agencies to support people who have experienced sexual assault and abuse.

Since it opened in May 2013, The Rowan Centre has provided support and advice to over 1100 men, women and children from across Northern Ireland.

The Sexual Health Clinic at the Centre was awarded first place in the ‘Adult Sexual Health Service or Project of the Year’ category at the awards ceremony in London.

Dr Emma McCarty who leads on genitourinary medicine at the Rowan Sexual Health Clinic said the award was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from the whole team.

“I am absolutely honored that our team has received such a prestigious award. It has been a privilege to lead on the development and delivery of such a specialist service.

“Hopefully this will raise awareness of the range of services offered at The Rowan and encourage more people who have been the victim of sexual assault to come forward and receive the appropriate care and support they need at such a distressing time,” said Dr McCarty.

The range of specialist services provided at The Rowan Centre includes forensic medical examination, emergency contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and support in making reports to the police. Staff at the centre also provide a 24-hour advice and information line, emotional and follow-up support, and referral on to other services.

Also from the Rowan team, Professor Wallace Dinsmore said:

“Sexually transmitted infections are a major worry for people who have been sexually assaulted. This concern is valid and it is therefore important that people come forward so that we can complete the necessary tests and offer the appropriate treatment in a setting which is both comfortable and welcoming. Our aim at The Rowan is to help people recover both physically and emotionally and that underpins the therapeutic approach to everything that we do.”

Commenting on the Award, Inspector Anne Marks from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which is one of the joint funders of the Rowan Centre, said:

“This award highlights the great service that can be provided to victims in Northern Ireland in the aftermath of sexual violence. It is vitally important victims take care and get examined, even for their own peace of mind. Worrying about infection, pregnancy or other health matters can affect how well a victim recovers and how well they take control of their life again. I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward and seek help from the professional staff at the Rowan Centre.

Pictured with the award are Dr Emma McCarty, Professor Wallace Dinsmore and Shonagh Reilly.

6th May 2015

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