Rape crisis helpline receives 12,400 calls

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has said 11 of its clients revealed last year they had become pregnant as a result of rape.

Of those, four are parenting the baby, three had terminations, and one miscarried. Two babies were either fostered or adopted while the outcome for one of the babies was classed as “unknown”.

DRCC’s annual report for 2016, to be released later today, reveals it received 13,300 contacts last year including 12,400 calls to the centre’s national 24-hour helpline.

The report shows, of the adult victims of rape and sexual assault dealt with, almost 70% of the perpetrators were known to the victims.

The offenders included 17% who were a partner or boyfriend, 2% who were a parent, a further 2% who were another relative, and 3% who were a person in authority.

Of the childhood sexual abuse victims, 18% of the perpetrators were a parent, 9% were siblings, 7% were a partner or boyfriend, and 23% were another known relative. A further 28% were another known person and just 9% were strangers.

Among the 12,388 calls to DRCC’s helpline, almost half (6,133) were first-time contacts while, of the total, 77% were female, 22.5% male and 0.5% were transgender.

DRCC said it had calls from children as young as 15 — in fact, almost 2% of the total were under 16 years.

It also revealed that 0.5% were from people aged over 80.

Almost 41% of the calls related to adult rape while 12.5% related to other forms of adult sexual violence, it said. A further 41% of calls related to childhood sexual abuse.

DRCC revealed that 67% of callers were from the Dublin area with the remaining 33% from locations throughout the country.

The centre had almost 500 face-to-face therapy sessions with victims.

Angela McCarthy, DRCC’s head of clinical services, said compared with 2015, last year showed a “striking” increase in the number of callers and clients who had experienced recent rape and sexual assault.

“There was a 24% increase in our calls, while half of the new clients that we saw in 2016 had experienced recent rape or sexual assault,” she said.

Commenting on the increasing number of contacts to the centre, DRCC chairperson Ann Marie Gill said it was welcome if it meant that more people were reporting sexual violence.

DRCC chief executive Noeline Blackwell pointed to the high level of young people contacting the centre, with about 30% coming from those aged 29 and under. She pointed to gaps in education and awareness. “A youth worker quoted in our report says that young people are really lost when it comes to consent. Our therapists see the same thing.

“As a society, we must be stronger in our intolerance of non-consensual behaviour. We must build a wide-ranging understanding that non-consensual sex is always rape,” she said.

HELPLINE FIGURES:

  • The 24-hour national helpline number is 1800 77 8888;
  • There were 13,307 contacts with Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) services in 2016;
  • 262 people were accompanied to the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, court or Garda stations;
  • 162 friends or family of victims were supported;
  • There were 6,133 first time contacts with the 24-hour helpline, and 4,228 repeat contacts;
  • Of those callers, 77% were female, 22.5% male and 0.5% were transgender;
  • Callers were from 15 years old. Almost 2% were under 16 and 0.5% were over 80;
  • The most common age groups were: 18-23 (14%); 24-29 (16%); 30-39 (22%); 40-49 (22%);
  • 41% of calls related to childhood sexual abuse;
  • 30% of adult rape and sexual assaults were by strangers; 9% of childhood abuse was carried out by someone who was a stranger to the victim;
  • Female clients disclosed 11 pregnancies as a result of rape. Of those, four were parenting the child, three had terminated their pregnancies; one each had miscarried, fostered or had the child adopted, with one outcome unknown.


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