Published Friday, 06 September 2013
The Rowan is a regional facility that offers a range of services and support to anyone who has been sexually abused, assaulted or raped, whether this happened recently or in the past.
Health Minister Edwin Poots, Justice Minister David Ford and PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott officially launched the centre on Friday.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Poots said: "Sexual violence and abuse have a devastating impact on victims and their families. Our collective aim should be to keep all children and adults safe from harm and to prevent them being abused.
"However, we sadly cannot prevent it all the time and it is vital that when it happens, we have services in place to help them deal with, and hopefully overcome, their experience. The Rowan is a tremendous facility that provides these services in a safe, secure and confidential environment."
The service is available 24/7, 365 days a year and I would urge anyone - man woman or child - who is or has been the victim of sexual abuse to come forward and seek help.
Health Minister Edwin Poots
Mr Ford said the project is a significant step forward in supporting victims of sexual violence and abuse.
"The housing of such specialist medical and forensic services under one roof, with the assistance from other statutory and voluntary organisations, will improve the standards of care and support available to victims at what is understandably a very difficult, unsettling and emotional time," he said.
"Importantly, along with being a safe and caring environment, a key element of the Rowan will be the ability to obtain significant and timely evidence aimed at bringing the perpetrators of these dreadful crimes to justice.
"I would sincerely like to thank those involved in this project for their hard work and dedication and in bringing this much needed centre of excellence to fruition."
The range of services offered at the Rowan includes forensic medical examination by a specially trained doctor; emergency contraception; HIV prevention treatment and other STIs.
The centre will also offer emotional support and advice in dealing with and reporting sexual assaults.
Chief Constable Baggott commended the new state of the art facility.
"This world class centre will provide a one-stop location for all victims who have experienced sexual assault, whether recently or in the past, through self-referral, third party referral or through our officers.
"The experience of being a victim of any type of crime is a very difficult one. However, the Rowan Centre will provide a complete and co-ordinated package of care to promote recovery and wellbeing and greatly enhance the investigative process."
From Friday the service is open to those who wish to self-refer directly by calling 0800 389 4424.
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