National online guide for survivors of sexual violence launched

17 April 2023

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A new guide offering detailed information to victims and survivors on their options after sexual violence that draws on the real-life experiences of other survivors as well as frontline service providers and support agencies is being launched in Dublin this morning (Monday 17 April).

Created by Dublin Rape Crisis Centre as a national resource for anyone seeking information and support after sexual violence, and funded by the Department of Justice, ‘Finding Your Way after Sexual Violence’ is being launched by Minister for Justice Simon Harris.  The guide covers how to access medical treatment after rape or sexual assault, report to An Garda Siochana and navigate the courts process, using animations, audio testimony and quotes. It also offers guidance to those who are supporting friends or loved ones impacted by sexual violence.

Speaking ahead of the report launch, Minister Harris said: “This guide is a comprehensive and much needed resource. It is a resource that contains the voice of survivors and support workers. It is written by those who have first-hand experience of all parts of the system for those who are facing into their own difficult journey. Their voices provide reassurance that throughout the system there are empathetic, professional and dedicated people who want to help and guide victims and survivors, and, who understand the journey for each person, and their needs, are unique.

“Providing people with the information they need, at a time when they need it, is crucial and this comprehensive guide presents all of the information in a clear, informative and sensitive way.

“I would encourage everyone to read this guide.  It is not just a guide for victims and survivors. It is guide for all of us to understand the importance of the part we play in supporting victims and survivors and it helps us understand how we can best do this.”

DRCC CEO Noeline Blackwell said the aim was to create a resource “that would be available to people 24/7 and allow them to explore the various options in their own time, that contains not just information but also brings in the real, lived experience of other victims and survivors. We in DRCC have been very privileged to be given access to these honest, personal statements and we believe that they will be a source of strength for people on what is most often a terribly difficult journey. We believe they will help people understand that they are not alone, that others have walked this path, that their feelings – no matter what they are - are valid, and that support is there for them should they need it.”

The guide includes a diverse range of personal experiences shared by other victims and survivors, as well as testimonials from staff and volunteers involved in the criminal justice system.  There is guidance in each section on how to support a victim or survivor of sexual violence. DRCC says the guide is trauma-informed, taking into account the impact of sexual violence on people’s mental, physical, social and emotional wellbeing. The guide is also victim-centred, having involved input from victims and survivors in the content and throughout the creation process.

Karen Stanley, who has experienced sexual violence and is a client of DRCC, said the guide “is important for anyone who has experienced sexual violence. No two experiences are the same, and this guide has information for whatever stage you are at. When you're going through trauma, you can't always retain the information, and having it all in one place in an online space is so helpful.

“Whatever path someone takes after experiencing sexual violence, it can feel so isolating, and having this resource can make a huge difference. The language is easy to understand, and the emotional support that Rape Crisis Centres provide is there. It's a step in the right direction, and it's comforting to know that information and support is available when you need it."

Following the launch, the guide will be available on DRCC’s website at  

For anyone impacted by sexual violence, at any time, the 24-hour National Helpline offers free confidential support at 1800 778888

Notes for editors:  

  1. Free access to the guide is available on the DRCC website at from Monday 17 April. A briefing note is available to download here.
  2. Background: As part of the 2021 roll-out of the 16 Days of Activism, an international campaign against gender-based violence, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD announced extra funding for a number of victim support services. DRCC used these funds to create the Finding Your Way after Sexual Violence
  3. 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.  
    • 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 Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm. A Helpline Interpreting Service is available for those who do not speak English - more at
    • 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.
    • 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.   
  4. 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