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Sexual Abuse

Two in five calls to Dublin Rape Crisis Centre in 2016 related to childhood abuse

Almost half, or 46% of people who contacted the centre, were abused by someone they knew.

ALMOST HALF OF all calls to the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre in 2016 were related to childhood sexual abuse, according to the organisation’s annual report.

45% of the voluntary organisation’s clients were victims of child sexual abuse last year.

Almost half, or 46% of people, were abused by someone they knew, while 30% were assaulted by a stranger.

There was a 24% increase in calls to the centre’s National 24-Hour Helpline in 2016 compared to the year before (there was a total of 12,400 calls). Around half of those calls were from people who were contacting the centre for the first time.

Giving an overview of its therapy and counselling work, the Head of Clinical Services Angela McCarthy said that compared with 2015, last year “showed a striking increase in the number of callers and clients”.

Although the increase in the number of people who report sexual assault is welcome, the DRCC said that there is still a need for a more robust approach to tackling secual assaults.

Youth and education

CEO Noeline Blackwell emphasised the number of young people contacting the centre, with about 30% of contacts coming from people aged 29 and under.

She said:

A youth worker quoted in our report says that young people are really lost when it comes to consent. Our therapists see the same thing.

She pointed to gaps in education and awareness.

“As a society, we must be stronger in our intolerance of non-consensual behaviour. We must build a wide-ranging understanding that non-consensual sex is always rape.”

Of the number of people who contacted the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, 77% were female and 22.5% were male. Less than one percent (0.5%) were transgender. Callers were as young as 15 years old, and 0.5% of callers were aged over 80.

Face-to-face services

As part of its services, the centre also provides training to 1,937 people, most of which were frontline workers in other services, eg, gardaí, and health and education professionals.

Almost 500 clients were seen for face-to-face therapy by the centre in Dublin City Centre, Coolock, Dóchas Centre at Mountjoy and in Tallaght.

Of this number, 92% of clients attending counselling were female and 8% were male.

The main age groups who opted for counselling were 30-39 year olds (27%) and 18-23 year olds (23%).

Ahead of the launch of the report today, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan thanked the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre for “its valuable services and its expertise”.

I greatly value the constructive work which government and non-governmental organisations do together to eliminate the pernicious harm of sexual violence in our society.

Read: ‘Sex offenders may be continuing to abuse children despite Tusla being told of their activities’

Read: ‘Rape can happen to anyone – we need to listen to people’s stories’

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