Alcohol is the most used date rape drug

Alcohol is the most common date rape drug in the country, according to rape crisis groups.

The Rape Crisis Network Ireland said that while there was little evidence to show that better-known rape drugs, such as Rohypnol, were being used, alcohol was regularly involved in sex attacks.

The group said that reducing sexual violence in Ireland required addressing attitudes and behaviours to alcohol.

In a submission to the Oireachtas justice committee, it said Irish research had identified “a high level” of alcohol involvement in adult rape. Findings include:

* 45% of rape complainants and 40% of suspects in Ireland had been binge drinking before the rape;

* Where alcohol consumption was known, nearly 90% of defendants in rape trials had been binge drinking at the time;

* 10% of all reported cases involved a complainant who was incapable of offering consent due to alcohol

The submission has been sent to the Oireachtas committee on justice on the issue of gratuitous violence arising from alcohol and substance abuse.

It said that binge drinking was much higher in Ireland than the European average — 26% compared to 10%.

RCNI said the Rape and Justice in Ireland report of 2009 found that where a complainant was unable to consent due to alcohol consumption, the attacker was a stranger in 75% of cases.

The submission said studies indicated that inducing an intended victim to drink in order to facilitate rape was a common strategy of perpetrators.

“Whereas there is little evidence to indicate better recognised drugs, such as Rohypnol and GHB, are used with regularity to facilitate rape, the high involvement of alcohol in rape cases, including rape involving victims who were too intoxicated to consent, suggests that alcohol is a very common drug used to facilitate rape,” said the report.

It said the acceptance of alcohol in social encounters, increasing sexual interest and diminishing inhibitions, reduces the seriousness of experiences of sexual violence where alcohol is consumed and reduces the culpability of perpetrators.

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