Dublin’s equivalent of one rape a day in July

THIRTY-ONE people reported being raped in Dublin in July — the equivalent of one sexual assault for every day of the month.

Among reported rapes in the summer months were sexual assaults on underage girls and elderly women.

And the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has altered its Staying Safe guidelines ahead of next week’s Leaving Certificate results on foot of a new phenomena of females being raped while asleep.

The centre’s chief executive Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop explained: “We’ve discovered cases where at parties a girl goes to bed early and wakes up and there’s a man inside her. People must be aware that having sex without someone’s consent constitutes rape.

“The message is not only to victims but to potential perpetrators,” she said.

In addition to tips about sharing taxis with pals and never leaving drinks unattended, an extra warning is being added so people are aware that “having sexual intercourse with a person without their consent constitutes rape”.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre expects to publicise the issue next week ahead of students celebrating exam results on Wednesday.

“Next week the Leaving results come out and Leaving Cert students go away, so we’ll be reissuing this again,” said Ms O’Malley- Dunlop.

Figures for July also show that 31 people, both women and men, were accompanied to the sexual assault and treatment unit (SATU) at the Rotunda Hospital during the month.

Ms O’Malley-Dunlop said: “We have noted an increase this time of year and it might be to do with festivals. At festivals things can happen. There are cases that have been related to festivals.”

Over just a 10-day period in the middle of July, some 21 people were accompanied to the unit for sexual assault treatment.

“People are outside, they’re holidaying, they’re less vigilant. What we’ve noted is if the weather is better, these numbers go up,” she added.

In June, 18 people were accompanied to the SATU in the Rotunda after reporting attacks.

Another 27 cases of rape were dealt with by centre volunteers and medical staff at the SATU during the month of May.

Some of these cases were particularly violent.

Two attacks included vicious rapes of two elderly people, one in their 70s and another in their 80s.

Six rapes were on underage victims, the youngest of whom was 13 years old.

Two other cases included a gang rape as well as a separate violent rape by a taxi driver or a person posing as a taxi driver.

* Victims of rape can contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on its 24-hour, 7-day week helpline on: 1 800 77 88 88.

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