The Rowan - Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

The Rowan is the regional Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for Northern Ireland. They provide support and services 24 hours a day, all year to children, young people, women and men who have been sexually abused, assaulted or raped - whether this happened in the past or more recently.

The Rowan services

The Rowan provides services to people who have been raped or sexually assaulted. You can use one or all of the services depending on your needs:

  • forensic medical examination by a specially-trained doctor (for adults, forensic evidence can be stored until you make a decision whether or not you wish to report to the police)
  • assessment for, and administration of, emergency contraception
  • risk assessment of HIV and the administration of a course of treatment to help prevent the onset of HIV if you are considered at risk (this must be administered within 72 hours of the assault)
  • assessment and treatment for sexually-transmitted infections
  • emotional support
  • support in making a report to the police
  • referral on to counselling or other appropriate support services
  • follow-up support

The Rowan has a 24-hour advice and information telephone line:

  • 0800 389 4424 - free phone from landlines though calls from mobiles will incur a charge
  • The Rowan website

How to get help if you have been raped or sexually assaulted

If you need to escape a dangerous situation or have sustained injuries that require immediate medical attention, ring 999.

There are two ways to get help and support from The Rowan:

  • through the police - If you have been sexually assaulted, you can report this to the police directly if you want to and they will arrange for you to visit The Rowan to discuss and receive the support and services you need - if it is an emergent dial 999, if it is not and you would like to report to the PSNI, dial their non-emergency telephone number 101
  • by self-referral (without police involvement) - all you need to do is telephone The Rowan on 0800 389 4424 (this is a free phone number from landlines)

If you do not want to make that first call yourself, you can ask a friend, family member or any professional or support worker to help make the contact.

What to expect at The Rowan

They will give you information and support to help you regain control so you can make the decisions that are right for you regarding what will happen next. They will support you in your choices.

If you have made a report to the police, officers will take you to The Rowan should you require a forensic medical examination. This decision is taken by the police in consultation with The Rowan team. A specially-trained police officer who has experience in dealing with these types of crimes will meet you there as well.

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