Sunday 11 December 2016

Cutting lifeline to vulnerable victims of rape is a callous move by the State

Published 16/06/2015 | 02:30

Ellen O Malley Dunlop, the CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, which has had to reduce its therapy staff by 20pc and has lost €300,000 in funding
Ellen O Malley Dunlop, the CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, which has had to reduce its therapy staff by 20pc and has lost €300,000 in funding

The decision to shut down the only collective national independent body that advocates for rape and sexual abuse victims is an indictment of the State's callous and uncaring attitude to survivors.

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Last week, during the launch of its annual report, Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) revealed the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, had stripped it of all of its funding - €184,000. After valiantly managing to stay afloat despite funding cuts of 30pc in recent years, RCNI will not be able to withstand this devastating decision. Why should you care? Let's start with the money. In 2014, the entire health budget was €13.1bn. Out of this, Tusla was given a budget of €609m. Of that, 16 rape crisis centres and RCNI, cumulatively, received €4.2m - or 0.7pc. As a proportion of the entire health budget, it comprises just 0.03pc. Apparently, this derisory allocation has been deemed too generous.

Now, consider the prevalence of sexual crime in Ireland today. According to the Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland (SAVI) report, one in five girls and one in six boys experience sexual abuse as children. For adults, the figures are even worse; 42pc of women experience some form of sexual abuse and 10pc are raped, while 28pc of men endure some form of sexual abuse and 3pc are raped.

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