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Dublin Rape Crisis Centre says 'more people than ever are disclosing and seeking help'

There were approximately 270 calls every week to the National 24-Hour Freephone Helpline in 2018.

THERE WERE ALMOST 14,000 contacts to Dublin Rape Crisis Centre last year from people who suffered rape and sexual violence, according to new figures.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) says that sexual violence is a growing problem for public health and more services are needed to cope with this increased demand.

“At this point, half-way through 2019, demand for the DRCC’s services is higher than it has been for many years because more people than ever are disclosing and seeking help,” says Ann Marie Gill, chairperson of the DRCC.

The reality is that people need support in greater numbers than ever.

Minister for Health Simon Harris is to launch the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) Annual Report for 2018 today which shows an increase in the numbers of male and female victims contacting the centre and attending counselling services.

The DRCC, which operates the country’s National 24-Hour Freephone Helpline through a network of staff and volunteers, dealt with 13,367 contacts – approximately 270 every week in 2018. Of those callers, 77% were female and 22% were male; more than half (7,423) were first-time contacts; and almost 8% (1,040) contacted the DRCC via text message.

Of those who provided their location, 65.7%, were from Dublin while 34.3% were from elsewhere in Ireland. Of those who disclosed the type of abuse suffered, 44.8% had experienced rape as adults, while 33% disclosed that they had been victims of childhood sexual abuse.

Of the 4,228 individual counselling appointments delivered, the majority (2,187) were crisis appointments for people who had experienced a recent rape or sexual assault (ie, in the past six months). The DRCC saw 582 individual clients for face-to-face counselling in its centres in Leeson Street as well as in its outreach centres in Coolock, Tallaght and Dóchas Women’s Prison.

Almost half (45.9%) the clients using the service were under 30 years of age. 19.7% of adult rape victims cited their abuser as being a boyfriend or a partner.

In the absence of firm data, it is impossible to say whether the increase in demand for the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s services is due to an increase in the level of rape and other sexual abuse, or because of a growing recognition by victims that they are not to blame, that it’s never too late to seek help and that there is help available.

Harris also launched a new e-health initiative Moving Forward from Sexual Violence – a programme of online psycho-education backed up by telephone assessment and counselling. Moving Forward is being developed by DRCC in collaboration with UK trauma consultants and e-health solution developers, KRTS International Ltd. This innovative new service will commence on a pilot basis later this year.

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