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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 18 October, 2019
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Two rape crisis centres are to close temporarily as cuts take hold

The services in Clare and Tipperary will be closed for at least a month because of a €120,000 shortfall.

Updated 10.50 PM

TWO RAPE COUNSELLING services in the Midwest are to be temporaily closed because of a funding shortfall the service estimates at €120,000.

Rape Crisis Midwest has centres in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary but is to close the latter two services for a least one month to save costs.

The service provides confidential one to one counselling to survivors of rape and childhood sexual abuse and says that it helps about 80 people a week.

The two centres that are to be closed are based at Tracklands Business Park in Ennis and in Silverview in Nenagh.

The Rape Crisis Midwest head office at at Phoenix House on the Rosbrien Road in Limerick is remain open but a statement from the company this afternoon said that the centre will only be in a position to operate a ‘skeletal and limited service over the coming months’:

The financial status of the centre is at a critical point. We are part funded by the Child and Family Agency and like many other charities, have experienced significant cut backs over the last number of years. There is no reasonable prospect of meeting our shortfall, estimated to be in the region of €120,000 in the entire Midwest.

The centre says that the closure comes at time when “demand for the service in the centres is even greater”.

“We do not wish to have to close our doors to those who are most vulnerable in society,” the statement continues.

“This is a decision that we have not taken lightly and has come on the back of additional significant cost saving measures over the last number of years.”

People who wish to donate to the centre can do so on their website with contact details also available there.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland

Reacting to the news of the  closure, the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland said that the current situation is “unsustainable” with demand rising and funding falling.

The RCNI says that the figures show a 28 per cent increase in demand for counselling between 2009 and 2012.

RCNI director Fiona Neary estimates that funds have taken such a hit that a 50 per cent increase would be required to meet the demand for frontline services.

“Rape Crisis Centres are increasingly dependent on volunteerism for core service provision,” she says. “There is nothing left to cut. Under these continued circumstances closures such as we see in the Midwest today have become unfortunately and disgracefully inevitable. ”

No adequate government response to tackle sexual violence in a meaningful way is possible without frontline services for victims. Indeed, from 2015 onwards the Irish state will be liable to fines from the EU under the Victims Directive if these services are not in place.
Central Criminal Court
Meanwhile RTÉ News reports that today at the Central Criminal Court, a 40-year-old man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the rape and sexual assault of his ex partner’s daughter.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reason, was handed the sentence without any of it suspended as Judge Partrick McCarthy said that there “was very little to be said in the man’s favour.”
The man was convicted of eight charges of sex assault, three of oral rape and one of raping the girl at two locations in Waterford between 2003 and 2008.

If you feel you need to speak with someone, call the national  24-hour helpline on 1800 77 88 88. 

- First published 3.58pm

Read: One in three European women have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15 >

Read: Young people believe alcohol facilitates the majority of ‘sexual hook ups’ >

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Rónán Duffy

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