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Violent rape on the increase - DRCC
[Posted: Thu 18/08/2005 www.irishhealth.com]
By Deborah Condon
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has expressed serious concern about the increasing level of violence accompanying many rapes and sexual assaults.
According to the centre's chief executive, Irene Bergin, this increasing violence has been noted by both helpline counsellors and volunteers accompanying victims to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) at the Rotunda Hospital.
"Our experienced helpline counsellors have expressed grave concern at increased levels of violence accompanying rape and sexual assault. Our SATU volunteers have also reported disturbing levels of violence being experienced by victims. This is a worrying trend", Ms Bergin said.
She made her comments at the launch of the DRCC's 2004 annual statistics. According to the figures, just under 11,000 counselling calls were received by the centre's 24-hour helpline last year. Of these, almost two in three related to adult rape and sexual assault.
"In 70% of calls to the helpline relating to rape, the victim had experienced the rape in the previous 12 months - a total of 4,750 callers", the DRCC said.
The statistics also revealed a high number of teenage callers to the helpline. In fact, almost one in five callers were aged 17 or under.
"We are aware that many young people are struggling to survive these experiences without professional help. The DRCC is planning a round table discussion in the autumn for relevant service providers to explore the complex issues involved in offering a comprehensive service to teenagers", said DRCC clinical director, Angela McCarthy.
The number of calls in relation to drug-assisted rape meanwhile increased from 0.5% to 1.4% last year. The DRCC refers to any situation where a person is incapacitated due to being administered with drugs or alcohol, as drug-assisted.
"These figures may not fully reflect the reality of the situation. Victims of this type of crime are often reluctant to report to the Gardai or seek help because they fear that they will not be believed, as their memories may be unclear. We feel there is a need for a preventive campaign to alert people of all ages to the dangers of leaving drinks unattended in pubs and clubs", said Ms Bergin.
The statistics also showed that 3% of callers to the helpline were non-nationals, while 1% were refugee/asylum seekers who had either experienced sexual violence in their countries of origin, or in some cases, since their arrival in Ireland.
Currently, the DRCC provides counselling in English or French. However for those who speak other languages, a lack of funding for interpreters means the centre cannot provide a service to them.
In relation to the DRCC's crisis counselling and psychotherapy services, the statistics show that in 2004, 610 people were seen for crisis counselling and psychotherapy - 88% female and 12% male.
Almost two-thirds of these were dealing with issues of rape and sexual assault. Of these 63% were raped or sexually assaulted by a person known to them, such as a partner or relative.
The statistics also noted that the percentage of cases of rape and sexual assault reported to the Gardai fell from 30% in 2003, to 25% in 2004.
The DRCC’s helpline can be contacted 24 hours a day at 1800 77 88 88.
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