In the case of a recent sexual assault, a person can either make an appointment themselves or have the Gardaí bring them to the Sexual Assault and Treatment Unit (SATU) closest to their area.
There are six SATU units in hospitals around the country, located in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Donegal, Waterford, Mullingar and Galway - read more on the HSE SATU page. In Dublin, the SATU is located at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin city centre.
What is a Sexual Assault Treatment Unit and what happens there?
The SATU is a dedicated unit that provides specialist medical attention and care for victims of rape and sexual assault. Where a person plans to make a complaint to the Gardai, staff can also collect forensic evidence. The HSE has a page for SATUs that describes their work and what happens there.
In the case of a recent sexual assault, there are three options for care at a SATU:
- You can report the rape or sexual assault to the Gardai and be brought by them for a medical and forensic examination by the dedicated staff in the unit.
- You can make an appointment with SATU directly to have a medical examination only. In this case there is no forensic examination.
- If you are not sure about reporting the rape or assault, you can arrange a medical and forensic examination where the evidence can be stored for a year and you can decide on contacting the Gardai.
In all cases, the SATU staff will prioritise your safety and wellbeing, and DRCC support will be available.
DRCC support at the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit
Note that during the Level 5 restriction period, starting 21 October 2020, our accompaniment service for those attending the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in Dublin is unable to provide in-person support. However anyone attending the Unit can still get DRCC support via telephone at 1800 77 8888. You can read about our services during Level 5 COVID19 restrictions in our latest update.
Note that our accompaniment to court and Garda stations continues - you can read more on that service or call the National Helpline 1800 77 8888 during office hours, Mon-Fri, to make an enquiry.
A DRCC support person will be present in SATU to provide psychological and emotional support for you and to give information on other services available in the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and how they can be accessed.
DRCC accompaniment service is free, confidential and voluntary. You can take a break or leave at any point.
The experience of any form of sexual assault can be traumatic and forensic testing, where sought, like any other medical examination can be stressful. The DRCC’s experienced and trained volunteers will be there to support you throughout your time in the SATU.