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1 in 8 too drunk to recall sex attack -- clinic

MORE than one in eight people who were sexually assaulted last year had drunk so much alcohol they were not even sure if they had been attacked.

Figures from the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the Dublin's Rotunda Hospital also show that almost 70pc of sex assault victims had consumed alcohol in the 12-hour period before they were attacked.

The figures paint a bleak picture where young women in the 18-25 age bracket are most vulnerable, especially in an environment where drink is being consumed.

The unit treated 341 men and women after rape and sexual assault in 2010, a rise of 26 patients from 2009.

However, 41 admitted they had no memory to verify if the had been assaulted because they had drank so much alcohol.

The unit's annual report said 235 had taken alcohol in the 12-hour period before the assault, and more than half of these had drunk more than four units.

Director Dr Maeve Eogan, said 25 patients had taken at least 15 units and eight were unclear how much they had drunk.



Abuse

The report said 142 of the patients were students, 85 were employed and 105 had no job. The majority were single.

Most patients came to the unit within seven days of an incident of sexual assault and five disclosed long-term abuse.

Other statistics showed that 10 sex attack victims had to be sent to a hospital emergency department to be treated for other injuries.

Saturday is the most likely day statistically for a sex attack to occur, with October being the busiest month for the unit.

Although it provides a services for people aged over 14, the Sex Assault Treatment Unit had to arrange care for six girls younger than that age because acute care in a children's hospital could not be arranged.

In most cases, the victims were attacked by one person and in 128 cases the assailant was a stranger. In another 22 cases, the attacker was a partner or ex-partner. A family member was implicated in 13 assaults.

There were 48 men among those treated for assault, the biggest group of whom were aged 25-35 years,.

cfeehan@herald.ie


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