Christmas can be a dreaded time of the year for victims of sexual violence
15 December 2023
“Christmas can be a dreaded time of the year for victims of sexual violence”: Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) says Christmas can be a dreaded time of year for victims and survivors of sexual violence. The charity is expecting greater numbers of people than last year to seek its support over the festive period and is making a plea to those needing support to reach out.
According to CEO Rachel Morrogh, “DRCC knows from previous years that Christmas can be an extremely isolating and stressful time for victims and survivors of rape and sexual assault. Last year, the freephone National Rape Crisis Helpline supported a caller every hour over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St Stephens Day, and we’re expecting the National Helpline to be very busy over this festive period.
“Our Helpline workers hear from survivors of sexual violence that this time of year can be particularly difficult. It may bring very painful reminders of past abuse for some, and others may have to face perpetrators in festive gatherings, or hear unkind, thoughtless remarks from family or friends.
“Our message to survivors is to reach out to DRCC. Our National Helpline is staffed 24 hours, every day of the year, and we are ready to listen and support. We know that sexual violence and the trauma it causes doesn’t stop for the holidays. We know that home can be a dangerous site of sexual violence for people who may be living with their perpetrator, so the festive period can create additional risks. More than 8 in 10 survivors know their attacker, and a quarter have been raped or assaulted by a partner, so some people call us at Christmas because they feel there is nowhere else to turn.
“Last year, because victims and survivors may need time to process what had happened to them over Christmas, DRCC saw a surge in contacts in January – twice as many contacts as in December. We will be ready and waiting for those calls this year too and will be making additional staff available to meet demand. The important thing is that people do make contact at a time that is right for them, and that they know DRCC is here for whenever that is.
“We also want people to remember that, as the recent national Sexual Violence Survey showed, survivors are all around us. What you say and how you react to harmful and hurtful behaviour and comments really matters to them – it tells them whether you are a safe person or not. And if someone discloses to you that they have experienced sexual violence, we can offer you guidance and support on the Helpline. We all have a part to play in making Ireland safer. So please, think about what you say and call it out when others say or do harmful things.”
Confidential freephone 24-hour National Rape Crisis Helpline 1800 778888
Notes for editors:
- More information on DRCC’s Christmas appeal is on www.drcc.ie and you can donate towards our work on https://drcc.splink.io/channels/xmasappeal
- 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/survivors of sexual violence. It also offers a wide range of training and education to professionals and volunteers.
- We-Consent is a long-term national programme to inform, educate and engage with all members of our society about consent. More information and resources on having consent conversations at https://www.we-consent.ie/
- Other DRCC services and work:
- DRCC operates the National 24-hour Helpline 1800 778888 to support anyone affected by sexual violence in any part of the country. A webchat support service is available online at drcc.ie Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm. A Helpline Interpreting Service is available for those who do not speak English - more at https://bit.ly/DRCClang
- For those contacting the Helpline who are deaf or hard of hearing, we provide a text service, operating Mon-Fri from 8am to 6:30pm, at 086-8238443 and we also have a webchat service available Monday-Friday, 10am to 5pm, except holidays.
- Information on your options after sexual violence is available for free online at any time at www.drcc.ie/fyw in the Finding Your Way after Sexual Violence guide.
- DRCC offers counselling & therapy to adult survivors of sexual violence and to older adolescents from 16 years of age with parental/guardian consent.
- We provide accompaniment support for the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, to court or to Garda stations to people in Dublin and in surrounding areas, by arrangement.
- We have outreach offices at Coolock, Dóchas Women’s Centre, Balbriggan & Tallaght. Access to these services must be arranged via the National Helpline 1800 778888 during working hours, Mon-Fri.
- We ask that when reporting on this topic, journalists should 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 1800 77 88 88 for anyone who may be affected by the discussion.