Thursday 22 August 2019

Extra funding 'can't keep up' with rising sexual violence calls


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Ian Begley

Ian Begley

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has seen a 4pc increase in the numbers of male and female victims contacting them, the service has revealed.

In its annual report for 2018, DRCC reported sexual violence was a growing problem for public health and said more services were needed to cope with this increased demand.

Latest figures show that last year there were almost 14,000 contacts from people who suffered rape or other sexual violence.

Last year, volunteers at the centre's 24-hour freephone helpline dealt with 13,367 contacts - approximately 270 every week in 2018.

Of those callers, 77.3pc were female and 21.6pc male, while 1.1pc reported a gender identity other than female or male.

More than half (7,423) were first-time contacts.

Of those who provided a location, 65.7pc were from Dublin while 34.3pc were from elsewhere in Ireland. Of those who disclosed the type of abuse suffered, 44.8pc had experienced rape as adults, while 33pc disclosed that they had been victims of childhood sexual abuse.

"At this point, halfway through 2019, demand for the DRCC's services is higher than it has been for many years because more people than ever are disclosing and seeking help," said Ann Marie Gill, chairperson of the DRCC.

"The reality is that people need support in greater numbers than ever."

Ms Gill added that while a further 10pc increase in government funding would extend services, it would not meet what the DRCC believes to be an "ever-growing" demand.

Of the 4,228 individual counselling appointments delivered in 2018, slightly more than half (2,187) were crisis appointments for people who had experienced a recent rape or sexual assault.

Irish Independent

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