• By Admin

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre comment on SAVI announcement

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has welcomed the announcement by Minister Charles J. Flanagan that the government has approved a national study of the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland and that the Central Statistics Office will be commissioned to conduct the survey.  Noeline Blackwell, spokesperson for the Centre, said that the Centre had been pressing for a survey for over 10 years – the last substantial study having taken place in 2002. She said that the lack of reliable statistics hampered understanding of the problem of sexual violence, and possible solutions.

“The proposal to have this study undertaken by the Central Statistics Office is a good one”, she said, “as the State will then have the tools and understanding to collect information on a regular basis”.

According to Ms Blackwell, while the announcement is welcome, “there are still a number of questions to be teased out. One is whether the survey needs to take 5 years – which will mean that we will not have any information on the prevalence of sexual violence until 2024 at the earliest – which is far too late.  There is also the lack of a committed budget beyond the very modest allocation of approximately €150,000 in 2019.  We need to hear much more about why progress will be so slow and whether with extra resources, it could be speeded up. We also need to understand how the government and the people can be assured that progress on the study will be adequately funded in second and subsequent years.”

Ms. Blackwell said that her organisation also needed to understand how research on small marginal groups, and research on sexual harassment, is to be undertaken as both of these are excluded from the proposed national study. She said, “It would be a great pity if we had to wait even longer to understand how some small minorities experience sexual violence as they might be at particular risk. We would hope that as plans are made, the methodology for researching these groups might be included.”


Noeline Blackwell, CEO.

Editors notes:

1.      Dublin Rape Crisis Centre commissioned the only previous study into prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland. The survey, Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland (SAVI) was carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland under the supervision of Prof. Hannah McGee, was published in 2002.

2.      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.

3.      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.