The Sexual Violence Centre is involved in a range of activities. Its most important work is the direct provision of services to the survivors of rape, sexual assault and child sexual abuse. The services are confidential, free of charge, and provided by highly experienced professional staff.
People make contact with the Centre for many reasons.
They may have been assaulted or know someone who has been assaulted. Information, advice and support are available where someone finds themselves a victim of rape or sexual assault, for adult survivors of child sexual abuse, and those experiencing sexual harassment or domestic violence.
There is no “typical” person who comes to us here at the Centre.
They may be young or old, recently assaulted, assaulted many years ago, or abused in childhood. We acknowledge the courage it takes to make that first phone call to the Centre or to call in to the Centre for the first time. Callers are young and old, women and men, of different nationalities and ethnicities. All however, have been effected by sexual violence at different stages of their lives. The door of Sexual Violence Centre is open to all, irrespective of the nature of the sexual violence they experienced or when it occurred.
The freephone number is 1800 496 496 for those calling from the Cork area. This is the first contact many people make with the Centre.
• Information and advice
Survivors and their families may require information and advice on for example: Legal issues, Medical issues, Service availability.
Staff are on hand to help answer any questions you might have.
• Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU)
SATUs are specialised units, based in hospitals, where Forensic Medical Examinations (FME) are carried out. These examinations are performed by trained medical personnel. The purpose of an FME is to gather forensic evidence, and it is important that it is performed as soon as possible after a sexual attack – after a lapse of seven days, little if any forensic evidence can be gathered. Forensic evidence is forwarded by the Gardaí to the Forensic Science laboratory in Dublin.
The Sexual Violence Centre Cork is on call 24 hours a day to the SATU and a counsellor will be available to provide support at the time and to offer follow up counselling.
Counselling is a one to one relationship which provides support and encouragement to allow someone to talk about the experiences and events which have affected their lives. The counsellor offers a safe and confidential space to enable people to get in touch with and express whatever thoughts and feelings are necessary for them to move on in their lives.
• Support for families
Family and friends can be affected and feel powerless when a family member is raped or assaulted. Support offered by the Centre includes information and advice on how best they can be of help and how they can support themselves. The Centre does not provide counselling by phone but you can get information about the Centre and arrange an appointment.
Staff at the Centre can make referrals to other agencies or liaise with other services or agencies on behalf of clients. We also accompany clients to GP services, hospitals, clinics, garda stations or court.
• Victim Impact Reports
Where a formal complaint of an assault is made to the Gardaí, this may result in a court case. If the defendant is found guilty, the judge is required to request a Victim Impact Report to help them with sentencing. The report outlines the impact and effects of the assault on the victim. If a person has undergone counselling at the Centre, his/her counsellor can prepare a report on their behalf.
We aim to make the services in the Centre as accessible as possible. Where we are in a position to do so, we will provide an interpreter if a client has limited or no English. This service can also be arranged where a client has hearing difficulties.
Training is tailored to ensure it meets the needs of the participants. The Centre regularly holds workshops with second and third level students throughout Cork city and county. Sexual Violence Centre Cork School Programme
We also conduct workshops with voluntary groups and statutory organisations.
- Increase awareness of sexual violence in society
- Dispel the myths surrounding sexual violence
- Impart information on the services available to survivors
- Create awareness of the effects of sexual violence
- Impart skills to those who may encounter survivors of sexual violence in the course of their work or personal lives