Rise in teen use of abuse services

THE number of 14-year- olds being counselled following sexual assault in Cork almost doubled between 2009 and 2010 and many of the alleged abusers were other teenagers.

Director of the city’s Sexual Violence Centre Mary Crilly expressed concern at the increase in young teenagers attending the service and said she believes pornography and the hypersexualisation of society are factors in the abuse.

Last year 42 young people aged 14 were counselled at the service, compared to 25 in 2009.

Director of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop also noted an escalation in the number of young teenagers that her staff are bringing to Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATU) while Rape Crisis Network Ireland said 72 children accessed its services in 2009, an increase on previous years.

Ms Crilly added: “That Cork figure might not seem like a big jump to you but to me it’s a big jump and it’s very worrying as we are definitely not seeing all the victims.

“A young girl will often feel that she can’t tell anyone as she feels in some way responsible, that they’ll be blamed or that everyone will know and I think that’s because 80% of the victims know who raped them. We are often finding it’s older boys in the other school or in the same school who are doing the abusing.”

Meanwhile, a survey of 2,821 third level students found high levels of male acceptance of “myths” around rape.

The research, carried out by the Cork Sexual Violence Centre, also found that two-in-five students knew a victim of sexual violence.

More in this section