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Christmas calls to rape helpline 'way up'
[Posted: Thu 08/01/2009 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
Calls to the Rape Crisis Centre’s (RCC) national helpline were ‘way up’ over the Christmas period compared to the same period in 2007, irishhealth.com has learned.
Some 2,100 calls were made to the helpline in December 2007 and January 2008. However this figure is expected to be exceeded when this month’s calls are counted.
“We already know that at least 1,000 calls were made to the helpline in December. That is way up on last year’s figure. And we are still waiting on figures from around 30 volunteers nationwide, so this number will rise,” explained Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC).
According to Ms O’Malley-Dunlop, DRCC volunteers accompanied 29 people to the sexual assault treatment unit (SATU) in Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital during the month of December, which is ‘around the same as last year’.
“In one 24-hour period alone, volunteers had to accompany four different people to the SATU, which is just horrendous,” she said.
Some of these people would have had to travel from other parts of the country where there are no SATUs.
Ms O’Malley-Dunlop said that it is unclear whether the increase in calls to the RCC helpline is due to the increased prevalence of sexual crime or increased awareness of services. She pointed out that recent media coverage of issues such as sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne may have triggered memories in some people, who then decided to call.
“It is important to emphasise that our helpline is also for victims of child sexual abuse. In fact, 47% of our clients were abused as children. It is also essential to let people know that help is available even if they choose not to report the rape or abuse to the Gardai,” she explained.
The RCC helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a confidential service staffed by trained counsellors. The number is freephone 1800 77 88 88.
|Anonymous Posted: 09/01/2009 09:07|
The fact the there are no SATU's in other parts of the country and victims have to travel in the midst of their trauma is an absolute disgrace
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