Cork City joint policing committee plans meeting to discuss rise in reported rapes

Members of the Cork City joint policing committee (JPC) are considering holding a special meeting to address the number of reported rapes and sexual assaults in the city.
Cork City joint policing committee plans meeting to discuss rise in reported rapes

Figures confirm 23 sexual assaults were reported between September and November, the same number as in the comparable period for 2014.

However, the number of reported rapes jumped to seven this year in the three-month period, compared to three in 2014. Gardaí did not reveal how many of the victims were male or female.

The JPC had held a special meeting on drugs, but TD Jerry Buttimer (FG) said it was time to hold one on sexual assaults and rapes.

He expressed concern at the number of sexually-motivated cases being reported.

Chief Superintendent Michael Finn, in charge of policing the city, said the figures were of concern to gardaí. He said a debate on the issue was warranted, adding that a high percentage of crimes were fuelled by too much alcohol.

The JPC was told the number of reports of harassment/stalking threats had risen to nine, compared to just one in the 2014 period, some of which could be related to a sexual motive.

Mr Buttimer suggested a special meeting to address the issue. “It is a worrying concern [that] in the last three months there has been an increase in the number of crimes involving rape, harassment, stalking, and threats in the Cork City division,” he said.

“These are some of the most invasive and personal crimes, causing lifelong trauma for the victims. This increase, compared with the same three-month period last year, is a personal tragedy for the people involved but it also poses questions for our society.

“Respect for the individual integrity of people must be one of the core values of all people. An increase in these horrific crimes, particularly rape, demonstrates that those perpetrators clearly lack these core values.

“We must ask how this can be allowed to happen. From a very young age we must work to instill respect for all people — this is a core requirement for reducing the number of these truly abhorrent crimes.”

Mr Buttimer said: “The gardaí in Cork do great work in our community but they can only respond to crimes. It is up to each individual in society to respect each other and we should not tolerate anything that violates the fundamental respect that everyone deserves.

“The increase in these categories of crimes is in contrast to an overall reduction of crime in Cork when compared to September-November 2014.”

The JPC, meanwhile, also heard that a Garda crackdown on drug users and dealers in the city centre had displaced potential offenders to peripheral areas and led to complaints from local communities and businesses.

Some dealers and users were now reported to be moving into car parks.

Cllr John Buttimer (FG) said he had received a number of complaints. He said as it was a public meeting he would not make the complainants’ names public, but would pass their details and information provided to him on to Chief Supt Finn.

The Garda chief said the anti-drugs operation, which has primarily targeted the rise in heroin use in the city, had obviously displaced some of the people it was intended to target out of the inner city area and this was something that would be followed up on.

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