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One quarter of sex abuse victims under 13 were abused by other children

With adult victims, less than half reported assaults and 57% who did said gardaí treated them sensitively.

File photo
File photo
Image: little girl image via Shutterstock.com

ALMOST A QUARTER of children in Ireland who were sexually abused under the age of 13 were abused by other children, according to a report from the Rape Crisis Network in Ireland (RCNI).

The service’s annual report for 2013 shows 14% of the people they helped were children and 61% of survivors aged 13 to 17 were subjected to rape.

In total last year, Rape Crisis Centre helplines dealt with 32,026 contacts – some 3,195 hours of calls. Centres also accompanied 603 people to a range of different services including sexual assault treatment units, the gardaí and the PSNI. 18% of these were children.

A report on garda investigations by the Garda Inspectorate published yesterday was particularly critical of the force’s handling of sex crimes and domestic violence. It said victim support was not nearly adequate and many of these crimes were not properly classified on the PULSE system.

RCNI’s annual report found that less than half of adult sexual violence was reported to a formal authority and 57% who did report it said they felt gardaí treated them in a sensitive manner.

“Responding appropriately to survivors must be a priority for the whole of government,” commented RCNI Acting Director Dr Clíona Saidléar. “To do this, we must have the best possible understanding of patterns and nature of sexual violence, in order to inform the approach to service provision for survivors, as well as in challenging the stereotypes and inaccurate, damaging societal attitudes that exist regarding all aspects of rape and sexual abuse.”

Speaking today, Interim Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan said the figures from RCNI are “an invaluable aid in our ongoing fight against sexual crime”.

We want to ensure that victims of sexual crime are treated with compassion and empathy, and can have the confidence that they will be taken seriously, supported, and a thorough investigation is undertaken. We will continue to work with bodies such as the RCNI to ensure that victims of sexual crime receive the best possible support.

Read: ‘There’s two of them in it; Don’t annoy him; Let him sleep it off’: Gardaí on domestic violence>

Read: It’s taking some gardaí over a week to record crimes on the PULSE system>

Read: Almost one third of crimes are wrongly classified by gardaí, finds report>

Read: Taxi driver says garda arranged compensation from assault suspect>

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