Home » The Rowan, Sexual Assault Referral Centre for Northern Ireland

Service users who have been affected by sexual violence/abuse participated in the steering group consulting on the development of The Rowan, a sexual assault referral centre for Northern Ireland.
Consultation groups of service users were set up to inform the design team, and ensure that the ethos of Personal and Public Involvement was kept to the heart of the centre’s development

The impact of the project included:

  1. A consultation group of service users to inform the Communication Strategy, and assist with development of key communication products to ensure the content would be helpful and informative to those who may need the service.
  2. A key performance indicator was developed to reduce inequalities and improve client outcomes
  3. Informing the architectural design team, to ensure the building was purpose built and sensitive to the needs of victims in order to enhance user experience

At what level did the PPI take place?

  • Service development/delivery;
  • Commissioning

PPI helped the project to

  • Inform commissioning
  • Improve quality
  • Improve safety


The centre came about as a result of victims and survivors lobbying for better services and supports for those directly affected by sexual violence/abuse.
The centre offers a range of support and services for children, young women and men who have experienced sexual violence and abuse. It is a joint venture supported by the Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Aim of involvement

Bring service users together in a collaborative process to develop a Sexual Assault Referral Centre for Northern Ireland which will support the development of services and meet the needs of the service user, in a sensitive and appropriate manner.

Method(s) of Involvement


Getting people to take part in the steering groups, facilitating the group and gaining trust. The project deals with very sensitive material and asking people share personal stories meant that a range of communication methods had to be developed through phone calls, email, one to one conversations, surveys and consultation groups.

Outcomes due to involvement

The centre is now open and working not only to provide a service but also to raise awareness of the support/services available region wide.
The needs of the victim are still key with feedback surveys being sent to service users, and where applicable carers, in order to ensure continuous improvement.



Further Information

For further information, contact:
Sarah Hull (Clinical Director)
The Rowan (NHSCT)

Email: sarah.hull@northerntrust.hscni.net
Tel: 0800 389 4424