Sexual Assault Treatment Unit

What is a Sexual Assault Treatment Unit?

The Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) is a safe place that you can go to when you have or think you may have been raped or sexually assaulted. We look after all genders and gender identities, aged 14 years and over.

Each member of staff in the unit has received specialised training to provide care and treatment to you in a respectful, person-centred, non-judgmental environment. There are six units in Ireland. They are in Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Mullingar and Waterford. (The contact details for each unit are detailed below).

You can read the SATU Annual Report 2018 here. Annual reports from previous years can be found at the end of this page.

What happens in the unit?

You will be welcomed and introduced to each member of our team. The team consists of an experienced nurse or doctor who is specially trained as a forensic examiner, a support healthcare worker and a psychological support worker. You may, if you wish have a friend or family member with you. We will talk about the different options of care that you may wish to avail of such as, medical and sexual health care e.g. emergency contraception to prevent a pregnancy, medication for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and minor wound care management. You will also be offered the Hepatitis B vaccination. All care and treatment is free. Every effort will be made to ensure your right to privacy and confidentiality. Your records are kept private.

What happens if you are less than 18 years of age?  Every person in Ireland is considered a child until they have reached their 18th birthday. Even though medical consent is 16 years of age, because of the seriousness of the crime, all children who report a sexual assault must have either a parent or legal guardian with them to make sure they are safe and not in any further danger. If you are worried about telling your parent(s) or guardian, you can contact the SATU and we will help and support you by discussing your options.

Supports available

  • If you wish to report the sexual assault, a member of An Garda Sióchána will be present. A forensic examination will be offered if the assault has occurred within the last seven days. The examiner will ask your permission to document a detailed history, a top-to-toe body examination and the collection of relevant samples as part of the sexual assault investigation. You will receive health care as outlined above, after the examination is carried out.
  • If you have been sexually assaulted within the last seven days but are too stressed, confused or afraid to report the assault, then we can still help. We will discuss the possibility of collecting relevant samples and storing them for up to one year without An Garda Síochána being present. We will also look after your healthcare needs as detailed above. This will allow you the time to get support and treatment first and then decide if you wish to report the assault. If you like, a member of An Garda Síochána can come to the unit and discuss your options with you before you decide. Your decision will be supported by all members of the Sexual Assault Response Team.
  • If you have been sexually assaulted a long time ago, we can discuss what care and support options are most suitable for you at this time.

Other supports

During your visit to the unit, a psychological support worker from the Rape Crisis Centre or Cari will support you and your family during and after your attendance at the unit. They will continue to offer psychological support for as long as you need.

*There is no statute of limitations in Ireland when reporting sexual crime. This means that you can report at any time.

Online feedback

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Where are the Sexual Assault Treatment Units?


Donegal SATU

Dublin SATU

Galway SATU

Mullingar SATU

MidWest Forensic Medical Examination Service

Waterford SATU


Cork Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU)

Service available 24 hours a day 365 days a year

Located in South Infirmary / Victoria University Hospital, Cork.
Sexual Violence Centre Cork psychological support workers are available to all attending patients.
Monday – Friday, 0830-1630 contact 021 4926297/ 021 4926100 Bleep 789
Out of hours or weekends contact Nursing Admin 021 4926100

Donegal Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU)

Treatment and care available 24 hours, 365 days a year.
To speak with a Forensic Clinical Examiner to arrange a private appointment please contact :-  
24 hr On-call SATU mobile: - (087) 0681964  or  Office phone during week days: - 074 9104436
The Donegal Sexual Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre endeavour to provide psychological support to all attending patients.

Dublin Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU)

Service available 24 hours a day 365 days a year

Located in Rotunda Hospital, Dublin 1.
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre psychological support workers are available to all patients.

CARI offers psychological support for patients aged 14-15 attending the unit. CARI also provide an aftercare phone support service for any adult/s involved in supporting a child through a forensic process.

For advice or to book an appointment ring the unit on 01 8171736 Mon- Fri 08.00 and 16.00

Out of hours contact Rotunda Hospital 018171700 and ask for SATU.


Galway Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU)

Service available 24 hours a day 365 days a year

Located in a dedicated building near Galway racecourse.
Galway Rape Crisis Centre psychological support workers are available to all attending patients.
For advice or to book an appointment contact your local Garda Station or ring the unit 091765751 or 0876338118 Mon -Fri 0800- 16.00.

Out of hours contact your local Garda station.

Mullingar Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU)

Service available 24 hours a day 365 days a year

Located in Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar.
Tullamore Rape Crisis Centre psychological support workers are available to all attending patients.
For advice or to book an appointment contact the Gardaí or ring the unit 044 9394239 or 086 0409952 Mon -Fri 0800- 1730.

Out of hours or weekends contact your local Garda Station or call nursing administration via hospital switchboard on 044 93 40221 

Sexual Assault Services Midwest

Available 365 days a year Monday - Friday 6pm – 8am Saturdays, Sundays & Bank Holidays 24 hours
Located in Mid Western Regional Hospital Limerick Outpatients Department RCC in attendance
Contact SHANNONDOC Tel: 1850 212 999
During office hours contact Galway or Cork SATU

Waterford Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU)

Service available 24 hours a day 365 days a year

Located in Waterford Regional Hospital.
Waterford Rape and Sexual Abuse centre psychological support workers are available to all attending patients. For advice or to book an appointment contact the SATU directly on 051 842157 or

Out of hours contact the nurse on call via the hospital switchboard on 051 848000


What happens when you attend a Sexual Assault Treatment Unit

When you attend the SATU, you will be brought to the examination suite where you will meet a forensic clinical examiner; this may be a doctor, a midwife or a nurse and an assisting nurse. The forensic clinical examiner will carry out a forensic clinical examination. This is a special type of exam which is carried out to get evidence following a sexual assault or rape.

A member of the Gardaí will also be present. A Garda must be there for legal reasons if you are having a forensic examination. They are not present if you are not reporting the crime to them. The procedure and examination will be explained to you by the forensic clinical examiner and you (or your parent or guardian) will be asked to sign a consent form.

You will be asked some general health questions as well as specific questions relating to what happened. You will be asked to outline your memory of events. All the staff in the unit appreciate that it may be difficult for you to give all these details again, but it is important that the exact nature of events is known to ensure that appropriate physical checks can be done, necessary  treatment can be administered and forensic samples can be taken.

A gown will be provided for examination and your clothes may be taken by the Gardaí. You will usually be asked to provide a urine sample and blood tests.

The forensic examination will then be performed and any injuries will be documented. Relevant samples will be taken, such as hair and nails and swabs from intimate examination (vagina or penis). Depending on the type of assault, it may also be necessary to examine the back passage and swabs will usually be taken from this area too.

Forensic samples can be taken up to seven days after a rape or sexual assault, but all SATUs also provide care for patients who present after 7 days by documenting and treating injuries, helping you deal with any worries you may have, providing you with preventative treatment (eg for sexually transmitted infections), performing a general health check and organising follow-up care if needed.

If you change your mind once you are at the SATU, you can choose not to go ahead with the exam, you can stop the exam at any time and the staff will always respect and support your wishes.

After the examination, you will be given whatever additional care you need eg treatment of minor injuries, preventative treatment for sexually transmitted infections and emergency contraception. You will also be given details of follow-up appointments and useful contact information.

Any further questions?

SATUs exist first and foremost to assist patients who have experienced unwanted sexual contact of any kind. Please contact your local unit (or local Garda Station) directly if you have any further questions or concerns.