What will happen when I arrive at The Rowan?
At The Rowan, we understand that you may be feeling upset and frightened. You may not feel able to trust anyone. Our main aim is to provide you with information and support, to help you regain control so that you can make the decisions that are right for you regarding what will happen next. We will support you in your choices whatever they may be.
If you have made a report to the police service, officers will transport 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.
The Rowan Nurse will greet you at The Rowan when you arrive. She will be there to assist you. You will be shown to a sitting room where she will explain the options and make sure you understand them. She will try to answer any questions you may have. At this time, your Rowan Nurse will ask you for some details about yourself. While you are with the nurse, the doctor will meet with the police officer who will give them an account of the assault, if you have already reported the matter to the PSNI. This will help the doctor think about what samples to take during the medical examination as well as considering what other medical needs you may have.
When you are ready, the doctor will invite you into the forensic medical room where the examination will take place. The purpose of the forensic medical examination is to look after all your health needs whilst gathering forensic evidence which may be used in a police investigation regarding your assault.
Once the examination is complete, you will have the chance to shower and change into fresh clothing or you may prefer to wait until you go home. Toiletries and a change of clothes will be available for you if required.
Your Rowan Nurse will show you into a private sitting room and offer you a hot drink or snack. She will then talk to you about the aftercare services offered by The Rowan. She will also check your contact details so we can contact you over the next few days.
The doctor will complete all their records. If any forensic samples were taken, these will be handed over to the police officer with a brief report that will help in any investigation. If you have decided not to make a report to the police initially, you can still have a forensic medical examination and evidence can be gathered and stored for a period of up to two years, in case you wish to report to the police at a later stage.
If the police are involved with your complaint then the doctor may be requested to provide a statement for court. This is likely to include medical details. A copy of the statement and the medical records made by the doctor will be sent to the lawyers involved in your case.
A key element of our service is providing sexual health screening and access to emergency contraception and and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. The doctor will discuss these with you fully before you leave.
The police service, if involved, will then offer to take you home.
This initial visit can take up to three hours, sometimes longer. We will go at your pace and believe that it is important that you do not feel rushed. Afterwards, you will be offered follow-up services and support for as long as you need and want it.
Your care plan
When you leave The Rowan you will be given a care plan. The information in the care plan includes the following details:
- All the care that you have received at The Rowan;
- The name of your Rowan Nurse, and other members of the team who may have seen you;
- Information about any other support which may have been arranged to follow your visit to The Rowan;
- Advice that you should take to care for your sexual health;
- Contact details for other organisations who can also offer you support following an assault.