Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) 
& Forensic Medical Examination (FME)

This service is for survivors who make a formal complaint to An Garda Siochána following Rape or Sexual Assault. The Forensic Medical Examination is performed by one of a team of specifically trained doctors who operate a rota for the Midwest. The examination takes place in the SATU in Limerick. The samples taken by the doctor will be sent to the Forensic Laboratory and will be used to gather evidence in the event of a case going to trial.

The SATU Service can only be accessed by contacting the Gardaí.

This service is open to both men and women.

Sexual Assault Services Midwest

This is an out-of-hours service, available 365 days a year. 7pm – 7am Monday – Friday and 24 hours Saturdays, Sundays & Bank Holidays.

Rape Crisis Midwest Psychological Support workers are available to all attending clients.

Contact SHANNONDOC Tel: 1850 212 999

Service available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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 who will carry out a forensic clinical examination.

A member of the Gardaí will also be present for legal reasons. The forensic clinical examiner will explain the procedure and examination to you 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 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.

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, e.g. treatment of minor injuries, preventative treatment for sexually transmitted infections and emergency contraception. A Rape Crisis counsellor will phone you to arrange follow-up appointments for counselling and Garda accompaniment if this is requested.

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.