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Christmas a busy time for rape crisis centres
[Posted: Mon 13/12/2010 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
Over 2,300 people rang the Rape Crisis Centre's national 24-hour helpline last December and January, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has said.
According to the DRCC, a total of 2,335 people rang the helpline over the Christmas period last year. Meanwhile, the number of people who need to be accompanied by DRCC volunteers to sexual assault treatment units (SATUs) remains high. In October 2010 alone, 35 people were accompanied to the SATU in Dublin's Rotunda Hospital.
DRCC chief executive, Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop describedd these figures as ‘very worrying'.
"We know that the levels of domestic and sexual violence escalate during recession times and we are definitely seeing increases in the people we are seeing at the centre as demonstrated above. This is despite the fact that new SATU units have opened in Mullingar and in Galway in the past 18 months," she explained.
The DRCC has devised the following information in the hope that it can ‘reach as many people as possible this Christmas and New Year period' and help to prevent this crime being committed.
Some facts to keep in mind this Christmas and New Year Period:
-The legal age of consent for having sex is 17.
-Under current Irish law, a person is guilty of raping another person if they are reckless in their decision to pursue sexual contact without that person's consent.
-If a person has sex with another person without their consent, it is a crime.
-A person may not give their consent freely if they are asleep, are unconscious or severely impaired due to alcohol, are mentally impaired, are under 17 or have been coerced in any other way that is deemed to be reckless.
Some Tips for keeping safe this Christmas:
-Always be part of a group and look out for each other.
-Try not to get separated from your group.
-Keep your drink in your hand at all times.
-Do not accept a drink from someone you have just met even if he/she is a friend of a friend.
-Ask someone you know and trust to mind your drink if you have to leave it for whatever reason.
-Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or with someone, leave as soon as possible.
-Nominate a designated minder for each group of six.
-Share taxis with friends.
-Make sure your mobile is charged at all times and keep the helpline free phone number - 1800 77 88 88 - stored in it.
-If you have to travel alone, make sure you phone ahead to where you are going and give your estimated time of arrival. Make sure your driver hears you phoning ahead.
-Remember eight out of 10 victims are raped by someone known to them.
Steps to be taken in the event of a rape or sexual assault:
-Call the national free phone 24 hour helpline if you need the help of a rape crisis centre for a recent rape or childhood sexual abuse.
-If you are a family member or a friend and do not know what to do when someone close to you has disclosed that they have been raped or sexually assaulted, call the national helpline and you will get the help you need.
-Contact your parents or guardian or a friend.
-You may choose to report the incident to the Gardai.
-Get the medical support you need.
According to the DRCC, the aim of rape crisis centres is to ‘offer a safe and confidential space where women and men of all ages can be listened to and supported without shame or self-blame'.
For more information on the DRCC, click here
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