• By Admin

Increased Levels of Violence Accompanying Rapes,
reports Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

Today, Ms. Breda Allen, Chair of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, introduced its Annual Statistics for 2004, and announced the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s 25th Anniversary Conference and Book Launch on 10th October 2005.
Contacts with the 24-hour Crisis Line

The statistics showed that:

  • A total of 10,944 counselling calls were received by the DRCC’s 24-hour helpline.
  • 62% of these calls related to adult rape and sexual assault: a total of 6,785 calls.
  • In 70% of calls to the helpline relating to rape, the victim had experienced the rape in the previous twelve months: a total of 4,750 callers.
  • The DRCC has noted an increase in the levels of violence accompanying many rapes and sexual assaults in 2004.

“Our experienced helpline counsellors have expressed grave concern at increased levels of violence accompanying rape and sexual assault. Our SATU volunteers who provide support to victims in the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit at the Rotunda Hospital have also reported disturbing levels of violence being experienced by victims. This is a worrying trend”, stated Irene Bergin, Chief Executive Officer.

  • The number of calls in relation to drug-assisted rape has increased significantly from 0.5% in 2003 to 1.4% in 2004.
  • Almost one fifth of callers to the 24-hour helpline were teenagers aged 17 and under. Of these, 16% were aged 15-17, with 3% under 15.

Ms. Angela McCarthy, Clinical Director said: “Since the DRCC highlighted the increasing number of calls to our Helpline from teenagers last year, we have liaised with other agencies and service-providers to get a clearer picture of the services available to this age-group and to identify gaps in the services. We are aware that many young people are struggling to survive these experiences without professional help. The DRCC is planning a round table discussion in the autumn for relevant service providers to explore the complex issues involved in offering a comprehensive service to teenagers.”

  • 3% of callers to the Helpline were non-nationals i.e. approximately 330 callers.
  • 1% were refugee/asylum seekers who had either experienced sexual violence in their countries of origin, or in some cases, since their arrival in Ireland. Callers from the European Union represented 0.5%.

Angela McCarthy, Clinical Director said: “This is part of our current and future challenge as a Rape Crisis Centre-to provide a culturally appropriate service for the increasing numbers of non-nationals, including migrant workers and refugees/asylum-seekers who seek help for their experiences of sexual violence. At present the DRCC provides counselling for persons who speak English or French. For those who speak other languages, lack of funding for interpreters currently means we cannot provide a service.”

Crisis Counselling and Psychotherapy Services

The statistics showed that:

  • 610 clients were seen for crisis counselling and psychotherapy, 88% female and 12% males.
  • 62% of clients were dealing with issues of rape and sexual assault. Of these, 37% were raped or sexually assaulted by a stranger and 63% by relatives, partners, or other known persons.
  • 38% of clients sought help for past child sexual abuse. 56% of past child sexual abuse cases were perpetrated by male relatives while another 35% were perpetrated by other known persons
  • The percentage of cases reported to the Gardai was down from 30% in 2003 to 25% in 2004.
  • * 2.5% of clients seen in the DRCC Crisis Counselling Services were victims of drug-assisted rape.

“We provided statistics for drug-assisted rape/sexual assault for the first time last year”, stated Ms. Irene Bergin, Chief Executive Officer. “Our statistics are consistent with those of other rape crisis centres around the country. However, these figures may not fully reflect the reality of the situation. Victims of this type of crime are often reluctant to report to the Gardai or seek help because they fear they will not be believed, as their memories may be unclear. We encourage victims of drug-assisted rape to contact our telephone helpline (1800 778888) or their local Rape Crisis Centre for support. We also feel there is a need for a preventive campaign to alert people of all ages to the dangers of leaving drinks unattended in pubs and clubs.”

In conclusion, Ms. Breda Allen, Chair of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said: “In 2005, the DRCC is celebrating its 25th Anniversary: 25 years of counselling, advocacy and campaigning for victims of sexual violence and sexual abuse. Our Anniversary Conference on October 10th next has as its theme; “Sexual Abuse and Violence: Responding to Change”. This will be followed by the launch of a book on the history of the Centre, “Without Fear: 25 years of the DRCC”, written by award-winning writer Susan McKay, which tells the story of the many challenges faced by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre throughout the 25 years of its existence.

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