Conference hears 'dogs are treated better than victims of sexual abuse'

Conference hears 'dogs are treated better than victims of sexual abuse'
Lavinia Kerwick speaking last year.

Chairperson of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Ann Marie Gill has said that "dogs are treated better than the victims of sexual abuse" after TD Ruth Coppinger compared the €25m for services for victims of sexual violence with the €17m received by the greyhound industry.

Gill was speaking at a conference on sexual violence to mark 40 years of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

Lavinia Kerwick, who made history when she waived her anonymity in 1991 after her attacker was given a suspended sentence, said that victims of sexual violence continued to be sidelined.

Ms Kerwick said: "Now is the time, we're just asking for support."

Don't keep sidelining us, the money that you give could possibly save someone's life, and I'd hate for anyone to have the life that I had.

In the 40 years of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, contact from members of the public have risen from around 70 calls in its first year to over 14,000 contacts in 2018, with some clients being placed on 10-month waiting lists.

Former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, the EU's special representative for human rights, said politicians have a role in rape culture.

Gilmore said: "When you hear prominent political leaders speaking in very vulgar terms, about women and then dismissing it as some kind of locker-room banter, that feeds the culture."

Gilmore added that political leaders needed to be called out for such behaviour.

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