THE first specialist sexual assault referral centre was officially opened today.
The Rowan Centre is based in the grounds of Antrim Area Hospital.
It will help men, women and children who have been the victims of sexual assault and rape.
Health Minister Edwin 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.
“This new 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.”
Chief Constable Matt Baggott said praised The Rowan as a “one stop location” for all victims of sexual assault.
“The experience of being a victim of any type of crime is a very difficult one,” he said.
“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.”