Guide to REACH Centres

The REACH Centre is a place where victims of rape and sexual assault can go to receive help and advice from a team of specially trained doctors and counsellors.

Both centres in Newcastle and Sunderland have facilities to provide forensic medical examinations, counselling, support, help and advice to victims - whether or not they wish to report an assault to the police.
Any person (man or woman), over the age of 16 years old, who lives or was assaulted in Northumberland or Tyne and Wear can access the support that REACH. offer.

The service is confidential and free and we will only breach confidentiality if we are concerned you may be in danger, if harm might be caused to others, and if there are fears for any children. We have two centres in the region: the Rhona Cross Suite, Newcastle, and the Ellis Fraser Suite in Sunderland.

For further information, advice, or to make an appointment, please call 0191 2219222.

  • We will always try to answer your call personally, but if there is nobody available please leave a message and we will contact you as soon as we can. Any messages left are secure and confidential.

  • All visits to the centre are strictly by appointment only.

  • Forensic medical examinations are carried out at REACH by a specially trained doctor. The doctor will make sure you know the reasons you need a medical, and will fully explain what will happen and why, and you can ask questions at any time.

  • If you have reported the assault to the police, a police officer may be present in the examination room, but they will remain behind a curtain while the examination is in progress. They are only there to be handed any samples, which need to be sealed straight away for evidence purposes.

  • A friend or relative can also be present to offer support if you need it. After the examination you can shower and change of clothing can be provided if necessary. The doctor will then give you appropriate medical advice and an information pack relating to your circumstances. At all times during your visit to REACH. your dignity will be protected and you will be kept informed of what is happening.

  • Our counsellors have years of experience and all work to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy guidelines. It can take time to build a relationship with your counsellor, and if for any reason you wish to see another counsellor, you can.

  • If you are attending for counselling, you can also ask if a spouse, or someone else who supports you, could attend for a one-off counselling appointment. This may help them understand what is happening to you. Your spouse or friend will not see the same counsellor, so this ensures anything you discuss remains confidential. An interpreter may also be present if English is not your first language.