The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) has announced that it will not be publishing national rape crisis statistics for 2016, due to ‘significant cuts in funding'.
Since 2005, the network has produced annual national statistics, which include the experiences of up to 93% of sexual violence survivors that use rape crisis centres nationwide.
However, according to the RCNI, significant cuts to funding have resulted in a ‘diminution of the network's capacity to safely analyse and publish data on sexual violence'.
"We have a duty to tell survivors' stories safely, truthfully and accurately. This is our commitment to honouring survivors' rights and experiences. We have achieved this integrity, credibility and accuracy for a decade.
"However, the removal of 70% of RCNI funding in 2015 risked dismantling the RCNI supported RCC database infrastructure, which delivered this gold standard system," explained RCNI executive director, Clíona Saidléar.
She said that the funding cuts had left a gap which could no longer be funded out of reserves and as a result, the data relating to 2016 ‘is not of a standard that we feel would be ethical or safe to analyse and release collectively'.
"This is why we have taken the decision not to process or publish 2016 data, as inaccurate data undermines both survivors and our work," she commented.
Ms Saidléar said that the RCNI is continuing to engage with Tusla (the Child and Family Agency) ‘in the hope that some resolution can be found that will enable the continued collection and usability of high-quality data from survivors into the future'.
"In this way, survivor experiences can continue to be heard by Government, and therefore to influence Government policy in this area," she added.
Responding to this, Tusla explained that it funds 58 frontline organisations nationwide, which provide support to survivors of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, and it is committed to improving services in this area.
"Tusla gathers anonymised, summary data on an annual basis from funded services...All data gathered undergoes an extensive process of cleaning and validation. Tusla is satisifed that its data collection methods and processes meet all required standards, including compliance around data collection," it said.
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