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Supporting victims of Sexual Violence: Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 2015 Report shows strong demand for services

Figures released today by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre show that in 2015 almost 12,000 people contacted the organisation’s national helpline.   Over half of the contacts were from those calling the helpline for the first time about rape or sexual abuse.  There were slightly more calls from people who needed to talk about sexual violence in adulthood than those who had suffered sexual abuse as children.

In addition to the telephone line which is a national 24-Hour service, the Centre provided face to face therapy to 499 people and accompanied victims of sexual violence to the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, as well as to court and Garda stations in the Dublin area.

Introducing its 2015 Annual Report, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Chairperson Ann Marie Gill said: “We aim to ensure that those who are victims of sexual violence get the crisis counselling, therapy and support that they need to heal. We also use our voice and our experience as an organisation to prevent the harm of rape in the first place. Our report today shows that reducing the trauma of rape and sexual abuse is very complex. It involves supporting victims through counselling and therapy as well as in the justice system. The consequences of the crimes of rape and sexual assault are often hidden but it is essential that those who are affected are given the chance and the right to recover.”

Launching the report in Dublin today, Dr. Katherine Zappone  TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs said  “Rape causes trauma, loneliness and fear. In these most desperate of moments the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre offers sanctuary. As a feminist, campaigner and Government Minister I fully support your work over the past 40-years and value your input into the formation of policy and law. I believe we must continue to work together to protect and support victims, increase awareness and end sexual abuse in all its forms.”

Presenting the overview of the therapy and counselling work of the centre, Head of Clinical Services Angela McCarthy said: “Compared with 2014, 2015 saw a resurgence in calls relating to childhood sexual abuse with a small decrease in calls relating to adult sexual violence. We have seen an increase in adults in mid-life looking for therapy for childhood sexual abuse, often after many years of suffering and silence”. She also highlighted a 16% increase in the numbers contacting the National 24-Hour helpline for the first time and said that this then resulted in increased demand for face to face therapy, an area where the demand exceeds the resources available to the Centre.

Calling for the urgent  enactment of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 when the Dáil returns in the Autumn, incoming CEO Noeline Blackwell said:  “The fact that about half  of the counselling and therapeutic work of the centre is with adults who have suffered abuse as children makes our call for better protection for today’s children even more urgent.  The Sexual Offences Bill, tackling internet abuse which is still not illegal in Ireland, will give today’s children a much better chance of staying safe than they have right now. While the government have flagged the Sexual Offences legislation as a priority, it was not debated in the Dáil during its first term. We hope that it will be top of the agenda for the Dáil when it returns in September.”

Ms. Blackwell said that approximately two-thirds of the Centre’s funding came from State Grants, with Túsla being the largest funder. The balance is fundraised. She said “While the grants received are essential, they only partially cover the costs. Recession cuts to funding have not been reversed which means that we cannot do all we would like to do.  However, we are proud of what we can do with a committed staff, dedicated volunteers, and staunch support from donors. The Annual Report is an opportunity to highlight the work – and the problems caused by sexual violence for our whole society.  Those problems could be greatly reduced by a robust legal system, adequate resources for healing and a common societal understanding that sexual violence occurs where consent is absent. We are calling for a concerted effort to bring that about.”


Spokesperson:  Noeline Blackwell, CEO.   01 661 4911.

Editor’s Notes:

  1. Dublin Rape Crisis Centre is a non-governmental, voluntary organisation which has as its mission to prevent the harm and heal the trauma of rape. It offers a suite of services to victims of sexual violence.  It runs the National 24-Hour Helpline for those who need it in any part of the country. It offers face to face therapy and accompaniment to the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, to court or to Garda stations to people in Dublin and in surrounding areas from its offices at Leeson Street. There are outreach offices at Coolock Civic Centre, Dóchas Women’s Centre, Mountjoy Prison and Tallaght Hospital.
  2. We ask that when reporting on this topic, journalists remember that discussions on  sexual violence can trigger personal trauma in those receiving the information. Where possible, please make reference to the National 24-Hour helpline number 1800 77 88 88 for anyone who may be affected by the discussion.
  3. 2015 Annual Report will be available on the website from noon on Wednesday 27 July 2016 drcc.ie
  4. Bernie Adufe D’Arcy is a survivor of rape. She publishes a blog from which her contribution to the Annual Report 2015 is taken. She will speak at the launch of the Annual Report.
  5. Rang Oisín, Eureka School, Kells, Co. Meath conducted a module on Consent and Rape Culture during their transition year studies 2015-2016. Two of the students and a teacher will attend to present a poster that they devised of their campaign at the launch.  The poster has also been incorporated into the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre training programme BodyRight.
  6. The main statistics from the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Annual Report are given below.

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s Annual Report & Statistics 2015 – The Figures

  • Key figures January-December 2015
  • 12,615 contacts with DRCC services in 2015.
  • 10,468 counselling calls.
  • 284 victims of recent rape and sexual assault were accompanied by trained DRCC Volunteers at the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit.
  • 43 people accompanied to Court or Garda stations
  • 3,536 appointments delivered.
  • 83,478 visits to the website.
  • National 24-Hour Helpline
    • 11,789 contacts (phone, email, text, social media) were handled by the DRCC’s National 24-Hour Helpline.

Due to the nature of our work, detailed information was not gathered for all individuals who contacted us so the following caller profile to the helpline  is where the information is known.

  • 5,902 were first time contacts.
  • 76% of callers were female and 23% of callers were male. 0.51% were transgender.
  • 51% of calls related to adult sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
  • 49% of calls related to childhood sexual abuse, including ritual abuse.
  • 67% of callers were from the Dublin area and 33% from counties throughout the country.
  • 95% of callers were of Irish nationality, the remaining 5% represent 57 other nationalities.
  • Face to face therapy Services – client profile
    • 499 clients were seen for individual counselling in 2015.
    • Of these, 318 or 64% were new clients in 2015.
    • 10% of clients were male and 90% were female.

82% were from the greater Dublin area, while 18% were from 16 other counties.

  • 88% of clients were Irish, while 12 % were from 34 other countries around the world. Interpreting services were provided for non-English speaking clients.
  • 51% of clients were victims of adult rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.
  • 49% of clients were victims of childhood sexual abuse (CSA)
  • 24% of all incidents of adult rape or sexual assault included additional violence, predominantly physical abuse, psychological abuse and harassment/intimidation.
  • In 21% of all incidents of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) additional types of violence were also disclosed, predominantly psychological abuse, harassment/intimidation and physical abuse.
  • Service delivery
    • 3,536 individual appointments were delivered in 2015.
    • Of the 3,536 appointments delivered, 39% were crisis appointments for men and women who had experienced rape or sexual assault within the past six months. 61% were appointments for past rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and CSA.
    • 10 therapists offered crisis counselling and long-term therapy in DRCC Leeson Street, and in three outreach counselling services; Coolock Civic Centre, Tallaght Hospital and the Dóchas Centre for female offenders.
    • The telephone helpline is staffed by DRCC staff during office hours and out of those hours, by a team of approximately 100 volunteers supported by DRCC staff.
  • Reporting to the Gardaí
    • Statistics provided in this section relate to 318 clients who commenced therapy in the DRCC in 2015, where the reporting status was known. It is worth noting that reporting and convictions in this context refer to clients seen by DRCC service in the year 2015, although the reports and convictions may have occurred in previous years.
    • Of the 318 cases where the reporting status was known, 113 cases were reported to the Gardaí, a reporting rate of 36%.
    • 65% of the 113 cases reported related to rape and sexual assault.
    • 35% of the 113 cases reported related to childhood sexual abuse.
    • Of the 113 cases reported to the Gardaí, outcome information was known for 25 cases (22%).



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