Over 2,100 calls were made to the national helpline for rape and sexual abuse over the Christmas period last year, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has said.
It is reminding people of the importance of staying safe during this festive period.
According to the DRCC, last December and January, 2,113 calls were made to the national helpline and 50 victims of recent rape and sexual assault were accompanied by trained volunteers to the sexual assault treatment unit (SATU) in Dublin's Rotunda Hospital.
"The increase in the numbers of victims - your sisters, your brothers, your daughters, your sons, your wives and your husbands - who were victims over the holiday period last year of sexual violence, is a very worrying trend in our society," commented DRCC chief executive, Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop.
She noted that many of these crimes go unreported because victims feel ashamed or do not think they will be believed, especially if they have been consuming alcohol.
This Christmas, as well as focusing on potential victims, the DRCC is also targeting potential perpetrators by reiterating the message behind the ‘Don't Be That Guy' campaign, which is run in conjunction with the Union of Students in Ireland and Trinity College Dublin.
This campaign appeals to men to ensure that their partner has consented to sex. If a man or woman is too drunk to consent to sex, this is considered rape.
Meanwhile, the DRCC is reminding people of its ‘Stay Safe' tips:
-Stay with your group of friends and try not to get separated from them
-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 down for any reason, for example, if you are going to use the bathroom
-Trust your instincts - if you feel uncomfortable in a place or with someone, leave as soon as you can
-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 national 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
The DRCC is also reminding people that eight out of 10 victims are raped by someone they know.
The national helpline number is 1800 77 88 88.
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