Saturday 22 September 2018

Fourteen sexual attacks blamed on children under 13

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Maeve Eogan Picture: Arthur Carron
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

At least 14 of the alleged sex attackers blamed for assaults last year were children under 13 years of age.

The shocking disclosures reveal one of these children, who was an alleged perpetrator, was a girl, the annual report of the Sexual Assault Treatment Units revealed.

Another 13 assailants were aged between 13 and 17 years of age and all of these were male.

The report outlines the activities of the six sexual assault treatment units across the country which provide help to victims

The units in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Mullingar, Galway and Letterkenny saw an increase in victims last year - up to 865 compared to 712 in 2016

Eight in 10 of the alleged assaults happened between 8pm and 8am and the majority were seen within three hours of the alleged crime when they underwent forensic examination.

In 91pc of cases, a single assailant was involved and the victims ranged in age from under 14 to more than 70 years of age.

In nearly one in five cases, the victims were unsure if a sexual assault had occurred.

Some 370 had taken at least six standard drinks in the 12 hours prior to the attack. Nearly one third had not had any alcohol.

The vast majority were women and 66 of the alleged victims were men.

One in 10 of the victims were concerned that they had been drugged against their will.

In the past year, a new system has been put in place which allows alleged victims who do not want to go to gardaí to store their evidence for a year, during which time they can think again about making a complaint.

The report said that 79 opted to securely store their forensic evidence in the sexual assault treatment unit for 12 months. Writing in the foreword of the report, Dr Maeve Eogan, medical director of the Dublin unit based in the Rotunda Hospital, said some of the 79 victims who stored their evidence went on to make a report to gardaí.

"This is therefore highlighting that offering this option provides opportunities to increase reporting of sexual crime, which can only be a benefit," said Dr Eogan.

The report, compiled in advance of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment, referred to opinion polls and numerous 'behaviour and attitudes surveys' showing a majority of people living in Ireland feel that women who are pregnant as a result of sexual violence should be able to access safe and legal termination of pregnancy, if it's their choice.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News