Press Release: Staying Safe this Christmas 2015

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

A message from the DRCC

There were 1,948 calls to 1 800 77 88 88, the National 24 hour Helpline for Rape and Sexual Abuse over the Christmas period last year

Staying Safe this Christmas

Our aim is to offer a safe and confidential space where women and men of all ages can be listened to and supported without shame or self-blame.

 Last year there were 1,948 calls to the National 24 hour helpline for rape and sexual abuse, during December and January.  During the same period 40 victims of recent rape and sexual assault were accompanied by trained volunteers to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the Rotunda Hospital, a 33% increase on the previous Christmas period. This is very concerning!

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said: “Last Christmas we highlighted the fact that there had been a decrease in the number of victims presenting to the centre in comparison to the previous Christmas period. Sadly this decrease has been short lived. Last year there was an increase of 33% in the number of victims accompanied to the sexual assault treatment unit at the Rotunda hospital as well as an increase in the contacts to the 24 hour helpline.

During 2015 the #AskConsent campaign got underway and has received a lot of support especially from students and young people in general. As well as generating conversation about what consent means the campaign shone a light on the very black and white legal definition of rape which is, sex without consent is rape. “

So this Christmas holiday made sure you have consent and;  Don’t be that person:

  • Who doesn’t make sure his partner is consenting to having sex
  • Who sexually assaults a woman or a man too drunk to consent to sex
  • Who uses alcohol as a tool to sexually assault someone
  • Who believes it’s not rape
  • Who doesn’t take responsibility.

The following are some tips to ensure everyone has a happy holiday:

  • Stay with your group of friends and try not to get separated from each other
  • Keep your drink in your hand at all times
  • Do not accept a drink from someone you have just met even if he/she is a friend of a friend
  • Ask someone you know and trust, to mind your drink if you have to leave it down for any reason
  • Trust your instincts and if you feel uncomfortable in a place or with someone, leave as soon as possible
  • Share Taxis with friends
  • Make sure your mobile is charged at all times and keep the helpline free phone number  1800 77 88 88 stored in it
  • If you have to travel alone, make sure you phone ahead to where you are going and give your estimated time of arrival. Make sure your driver hears you phoning ahead.

Steps to be taken in the event of a rape or sexual assault:

  • Call the National  24 hour Helpline 1800 77 88 88 if you need the help of a Rape Crisis Centre for a recent rape or childhood sexual abuse,
  • If you are a family member or a friend and don’t know what to do when someone close to you has disclosed that they have been raped or sexually assaulted call this number and you will get the help you need
  • Contact your parents or Guardian or a friend
  • You may choose to report the incident to the Gardai
  • Get the medical support you need.

 

Some facts to keep in mind this Christmas and New Year Period

  • The legal age of consent for having sex is 17
  • Under current Irish Law a person is guilty of raping another person, if they are reckless in their decision to pursue sexual contact without that person’s consent
  • If a person has sex with another person without their consent it is a crime
  • A person may not give their consent freely if they are asleep, are unconscious or severely impaired due to alcohol, are mentally impaired , are under 17 or have been coerced in any other way that is deemed to be reckless
  • When a person is taken advantage of in any of these circumstances whereby they have not given their consent freely, they suffer the huge trauma of the effects of being raped
  • 8 in 10 victims are raped by someone known to them.

 

Ends 

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, Chief Executive

 

 

 

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