The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has expressed concern about the increasing level of violence that is accompanying sex-related crimes.
Speaking to irishhealth.com, DRCC chief executive, Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, said that there has been a ‘huge and quite shocking rise’ in the amount of violence now being seen.
Ms O’Malley-Dunlop was responding to the Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) figures, which revealed that the number of cases of rape of a female fell by 10% in 2007, when compared to 2006.
While acknowledging this fall, she highlighted the fact that the CSO figures only relate to the number of cases recorded by the Gardai and not to the number of actual rapes taking place.
“Just one in 10 victims report the crime of rape to the Gardai, so while these figures reflect the reality of reporting, they also reflect the reality of a lack of confidence in the system”, she said.
According to the figures, rape of a female fell by 10%. However aggravated sexual assault rose by 6%, while unlawful carnal knowledge rose by 8%.
Furthermore while the overall figure relating to rape of a female for 2007 showed a decrease, the number of rapes in the last three months of the year actually increased – from 64 in the same period in 2006 to 68 in 2007.
Ms O’Malley-Dunlop said that the DRCC was looking forward to two more SATUs (sexual assault treatment units) coming on stream this year. Currently, there are four units - in Dublin, Waterford Cork and Donegal. However units in Galway and Mullingar are due to open in 2008.
She also welcomed the news that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is considering changing his office’s policy of not providing a reason when a decision is taken not to prosecute.
“While just one in 10 victims report the crime of rape, of these, many will never reach court for various reasons. In some cases, the DPP providing a reason for not prosecuting could benefit the victim”, Ms O’Malley-Dunlop said.