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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 5 June, 2020

More than 2,270 women reported a rape or sexual assault to Gardaí last year

The majority of those who reported sexual assaults were female.

Noeline Blackwell with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris
Noeline Blackwell with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

MORE THAN THREE-QUARTERS of homicide victims in Ireland were men last year, while over 80% of sexual violence crimes reported were committed against women, data from the CSO shows. 

The latest information from the Central Statistics Office on recorded crime in Ireland for 2018 highlighted a gap between the gender of victims of homicides, as well as a gap in the gender of victims of sexual offences. 

There were 57 male victims of homicide last year – the equivalent of 77% of the total number recorded – while there were 17 female victims of homicide, or 23% of the total number recorded. 

Some 32% of the recorded homicide victims were young men or women aged between 18 and 29 years.

The figures were compiled using the number of cases recorded by An Garda Síochana in 2018. 

The data also showed there were 46 victims of murder or manslaughter – 78% of whom were males – and a further 28 victims arising from dangerous driving leading to death – 75% of whom were males. 

Sexual Violence

In contrast to the high number of male victims of homicide, the majority of sexual violence victims were female. 

There were 2,771 recorded sexual offences – rapes and sexual assaults – last year, with 82% of those victims being female, compared to 18% who were male. 

Some 32% of those victims were in the age bracket between 18 and 29 years old, while 14% were under 18 years old. 

The latest information from the CSO also shows last year’s reports were a mix of both recent and historic cases of sexual violence.

Of the cases reported to Gardaí, 63% of victims reported sexual violence crimes that were said to have taken place within one year prior to the reporting of the crime. 

The other 37% of cases brought to Gardaí involved offences reported to have happened more than a year prior to reporting the crime, known as historic cases. 

A quarter of those who reported historic cases of sexual offences – some 683 victims – also said the crime took place more than 10 years previous. 

Noeline Blackwell, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre which assists victims of rapes and sexual assaults, said the centre also noticed increases in the number of historic cases of sexual offences being disclosed. 

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“There is something at the moment where people are beginning to understand it’s not their fault, that they are victims of the crime and they are entitled to report it,” she told

“Every single quarter for the past couple of years the number of offences have gone up. 

“What’s different about this is the level of detail we’re given from the CSO. I don’t ever recall statistics that broke figures down to this extent – we would only know there were so many offences recorded.

“This time they seem to be doing an awful lot more by identifying the sex of the person, the victim of crimes, and also the length of time between reporting the crime,” Blackwell said.

She explained there are a number of reasons for delayed disclosures, including child abuse only reported by victims when they reach adulthood, issues in later relationships, or historic family abuse being reported only after a family member has died. 

The CSO data showed 83% of historic sexual violence reports in 2018 referred to incidents which occurred in childhood. 

Some 56% of those – or 566 victims – were females under the age of 18 at the time of the offence, and 28% of those – or 283 victims – were males under 18 at the time. 

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