Dublin Rape Crisis Centre reports rise in number of first-time callers

There has been an 18% increase in the number of first-time callers to the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre reports rise in number of first-time callers

There has been an 18% increase in the number of first-time callers to the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

The Centre's annual report for 2011 shows that almost 3,988 of the 11,839 calls handled by the Centre's 24-Hour Helpline (1800 778888) last year were first-time callers, compared with 3,282 first-time calls in 2010.

Some 81% of callers were female and 19% of callers were male. This compared to 17% male callers in 2010.

A total of 52% of the calls related to adult sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, harassment and trafficking, while 48% concerned child sexual abuse.

Dr Frances Gardiner, the chairperson of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, has described the figures as "shocking".

"The statistics in DRCC's Annual Report 2011 are indeed shocking," she said.

"It is a testament to the excellent work of the staff of the centre that so many victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse are confident of availing of the DRCC services.

"These include the national 24-hour helpline, accompaniment to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit and the courts, legal information and face to face counselling and therapy.

"The launch of the National Awareness Raising Campaign, which is now in its fourth year, will no doubt contribute to further calls on the services of Rape Crisis Centres around the country.

"The campaign is slowly but surely helping to change the long shelf life of attitudes to rape and sexual abuse in Ireland. Changing attitudes will change behaviour. We urgently need to change the behaviour in our society, which still tolerates rape and sexual abuse without impunity.

"This year's Awareness Raising Campaign is a simple message to victims of sexual violence that they are not alone, and that talking can help the feelings fade.

"The use of a UV-reactive ink in the printing of the posters, gave us the opportunity to not only express this with words, but to demonstrate it physically too.

"It is crucial that victims can be confident that professional help is available to them at a time of deep personal trauma. This is not a time to cut funding to Rape Crisis Centres."

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