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Sunday 28 May 2023 Dublin: 14°C
# Rape Crisis Network Ireland
Rape crisis centres: 22% increase in helpline calls as waiting lists rise
More than 13,068 contacts were made to six centres last year.

THERE WAS A significant increase in the number of people contacting seven rape crisis centres (RCCs) in Ireland last year, with 15,194 appointments made for those seeking counselling and support.

According to figures released by the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) today, there was a 22% increase in helpline calls to the network, with 71% of those calls lasting longer than average.

RCCs are currently experiencing waiting lists of many months as “they don’t have the funding or the staff to provide immediate counselling and support appointments”.

The seven RCNI member RCCs included in this report currently have 332 people on their waiting lists, and this figure is rising: “To put this in context this means that a survivor may be waiting well over a year to be assigned a counsellor”.

“However, we are still taking calls, and providing intermediate support calls until we can allocate a counsellor,” the report notes.

Survivors made contact through phone calls, texts, emails, contacts through social media, and letters.

Throughout 2020, RCNI saw significant increases every month when compared to 2019 except in October when contacts decreased by 12%. However, contact from survivors was up again by December – an increase of 34% when compared with December 2019.

83% of those contacting the 6 RCC helplines in this report were survivors of sexual violence (10,823 people), with the report noting that many people’s trauma was heightened due to the pandemic.

RCNI Executive Director, Dr Clíona Saidléar, told Morning Ireland that underfunding has left the centres struggling to address the growing waiting lists.

Dr Saidléar said the network is still operating on funding below ‘2008 levels’ which is making it difficult to train and retain new staff.

“We were offered funding to bring on counsellors for six months to address the waiting lists which are growing, unfortunately. But if we haven’t been training anyone for 10 years. Then there’s nobody out there to hire,” she said.

“The investment in sustainability and the infrastructure around or rape crisis centre is incredibly important as we head into this budget.”

A 24-hour helpline run by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre can be contacted on 1800 778 888, or you can find your closest centre here.

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