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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Athlone incident reminds us to be vigilant when it comes to child safety, says RCNI

The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) has urged anyone concerned about a neighbour to work with gardaí.

Holding a child's hand.
Holding a child's hand.

FOLLOWING THE INCIDENT in Athlone, the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) has urged people to report any concerns they have about any suspicious behavior by their neighbours to the gardaí.

In a statement today, the RCNI says that if anyone has any concerns “about the behaviour or activity of someone living in their neighbourhood” they should report it and work with the gardaí.

Alleged abduction

The appeal is made following the alleged abduction and suspected sexual assault of two children aged six and nine took place in Athlone.

Three men were arrested in relation to the incident, but today, two men have been released without charge.

A third man remains in custody. A large crowd has gathered outside Athlone courthouse with signs saying we should ‘protect children’.

Fiona Neary, RCNI director said, “child abduction is traumatic both for the victims and their community”.

Most likely to know the abuser

She said that research and national data shows that acquaintances, friends and neighbours are the most commonly named perpetrators by child survivors, both boys and girls, attending rape crisis centres in 2012. She said that strangers accounted for only 7 per cent of all reported incidents.

She said that the majority of incidents involving female children only, under the age of 13, coming to the attention of rape crisis centres in 2012, were perpetrated by parents, immediate family members or extended family members.

She added that the likelihood of incidents being perpetrated by acquaintances, strangers and other non-family members increases with age especially for girls.

She said:

All communities can act to protect children. RCNI urge anyone who has concerns about the behaviour of someone living in their area to talk to the gardaí in confidence to alert them and pass on any information that may prove useful.

Pics: Crowds at Athlone courthouse as one still held in sexual assault investigation>

Read: Three men held over alleged sexual assault of children in Athlone>

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