Quarter of all calls to rape helpline from men
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has reported a 30pc increase in first-time callers to its 24 hour helpline, with men accounting for almost a quarter of those seeking help.
More than 12,000 contacts were made to the charity last year, with some 9,207 deemed genuine. Some 3,341 individual client appointments were completed in 2014, according to its annual report.
Four out of 10 people who needed a crisis appointment received emergency counselling for rape or a sexual assault within six months of the alleged offence. There was a 71pc increase in such "recent" appointments compared to 2013, DRCC said.
Half of its new clients who received face-to-face counselling also reported other forms of violence including physical and psychological abuse, harassment and intimidation as well stalking and threats and attempts to kill, DRCC said.
Elsewhere, more than 200 victims of rape and sexual assault were accompanied by trained volunteers to the Sexual Assault and Treatment Unit (SATU) in Dublin's Rotunda Hospital.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, who launched the report, has received broad support for proposed reform of sexual offences legislation published last year.
She is widely expected to shortly announce a new Government commitment to undertake research into the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland.
Any new research would follow on from the landmark 2002 'Sexual Assault and Violence Report in Ireland' (SAVI).
Anne Marie Gill, DRCC Chairperson, said that a second SAVI could provide comparative, rigorous research to identify whether there has been change for "better or worse".
The Government is set to transpose into Irish law a new EU Directive on Victim's Rights.