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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 24 April, 2014

Rape helpline to see increased calls over Christmas

There were 1,834 calls to the national 24 hour helpline for rape and sexual abuse during the 2011 festive season.

Image: ChameleonsEye via Shutterstock

CALLS TO THE rape crisis helpline are expected to soar again this Christmas after a jump last year.

There were 1,834 calls to the national 24 hour helpline for rape and sexual abuse during December 2011 and January 2012.

During the same period, 42 victims of recent rape and sexual assault were accompanied by trained volunteers to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the Rotunda Hospital.

The increase in the numbers of victims – sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, wives and husbands – over the holiday period is a “worrying trend”, says the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, CEO of the DRCC said that everything must be done to stop this increase in sexual assaults, many of which go unreported:

Unreported because victims feel so ashamed, particularly if they were under the influence of alcohol and will expect not to be believed.

As well as targeting potential victims and displaying their staying safe tips, the DRCC are also targeting the potential perpetrator with a ‘Don’t be that guy’ campaign:

Don’t be that guy who doesn’t take responsibility; who doesn’t make sure his partner is consenting; who sexually assaults a man or a woman too drunk to consent to sex; who uses alcohol as a tool to sexually assault someone or who believes it’s not rape.

Tips for keeping safe this Christmas include:

  • Always look out for each other and be part of a group.
  • Try not to get separated from your group.
  • Keep your drink in your hand at all times.
  • Do not accept a drink from someone you have just met, even if he/she is a friend of a friend.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Nominate a designated minder for each group of six.
  • Share taxis with friends.
  • Make sure your mobile is charged at all times and keep the helpline free phone number 1800 77 88 88 stored in it.
  • Remember 8 out of 10 victims are raped by someone known to them.

If you feel you need to speak with someone, call the national  24-hour helpline on 1800 77 88 88.

Read: Women’s Aid calls for review of laws around domestic abuse >

Read: Victims of child sex abuse wait 25 years to report abuse >

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