Welcome for spotlight on sexual and domestic violence in Garda statistical release

23 September 2022


Dublin Rape Crisis Centre today (Friday 23 Sept) welcomed the publication of data on domestic violence and sexual offences by the National Protective Services Unit of An Garda Siochana, saying this valuable information gives a clearer understanding of who is committing such crimes as well as the victims reporting them, and thus how to offer better and more targeted services and supports.

DRCC’s CEO Noeline Blackwell said the statistics correspond with DRCC’s experience on a number of points.  “The Garda data show a linkage between women experiencing domestic abuse and sexual as well as other types of violence, and that sexual violence may occur within a broader pattern of domestic abuse. This is something we hear regularly, particularly from callers to the National Helpline.

“We also note the stark increase in the incidence of reported sexual offences incidents with a domestic abuse motive to just over a quarter of all sexual offences that year. We believe this information will be very helpful in identifying vulnerable individuals and ensuring they can access key supports in a timely way, particularly to victims of domestic or intimate partner abuse who need to access specialised services around sexual violence.”

The Garda statistics showed most women know the offender, at 84% of women as opposed to 61% of men. The figures also show women were more likely to be stalked and harassed, at 71% of victims, and formed an overwhelming 90% of coercive control victims. Ms Blackwell said “The Garda data indicate a spouse or current/former intimate partner is the most likely person to commit a violent crime against women, at a third of perpetrators. This also echoes the experience of DRCC’s therapy clients, where around a fifth have experienced sexual violence from their partner or ex-partner.”

Ms Blackwell said the figures show sexual offences to be a highly gendered area of crime: “Women are disproportionately impacted by sexual offences, as the Garda figures show. Since 2013, women have constituted about 80% of victims of this type of crime, and the figure climbs to 90% for rape incidents. This mirrors contacts to the National Rape Crisis Helpline run by DRCC, which shows the same gender ratio for many years now.

DRCC was glad to see a thematic data release, with Ms Blackwell commenting:  “These detailed and nuanced figures are really essential if we are to understand more fully the reality of sexual violence in Ireland and we commend An Garda Siochana for gathering and publishing it.”

Ms Blackwell said she was glad to see the report acknowledges that there is still under-reporting of incidents to Gardai, and that the force was committed to encouraging people to come forward: “We in DRCC hear daily from victims/survivors of sexual crimes about their fears around reporting and their negative and positive experiences when they do.

“We must make it easier for people to come forward to seek justice and to receive compassion, respect and empowerment in interacting with the justice system, as the Istanbul Convention demands and in the spirit of the Department of Justice’s ‘Supporting A Victim’s Journey’ plan as well as the Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.”


Notes for editors:  

  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/survivors of sexual violence. It also offers a wide range of training and education to professionals and volunteers.  
    • Information on DRCC’s training programme aimed at those working with young people, BodyRight, can be found here: https://www.drcc.ie/services/education-training/courses/bodyright-facilitator-training-programme/
    • DRCC operates the National 24-hour Helpline1800 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-2pm. 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 Mon-Fri, 10am to 2pm (excluding Bank 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.  
  2. 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 88for anyone who may be affected by the report.