RCNI Press Release 14 November 2005
The Impact on Rape Crisis Centres: Ongoing fallout from Ferns
The national helpline, run by Dublin RCC, and the Wexford and Waterford Centres were first to feel the impact of the report, with the Wexford Centre increasing its hours of operation to run to midnight to cope with the demand. Other centres from Kerry to Dundalk have also been affected. While Wexford and Waterford reported huge numbers of calls directly related to Ferns abuses, other centres have experienced people abused in other settings coming forward for the first time spurred on by the publicity surrounding the report.
With RCCs currently operating under budgets capped since 2002, this type of increased service delivery is unsustainable without the increase in funding the RCNI has demanded in this forthcoming budget.
The national 24 hour, DRCC helpline saw a 75% increase in calls, while the other 15 Rape Crisis Centres across Ireland have seen an average 50% increase in calls.
Fiona Neary, RCNI Executive Director said, ‘many centres reported that the real impact was delayed and only began to be seen after a brief period. For example the Dundalk Centre, (Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, North East) saw calls more than double in the first week post Ferns but then increase four fold in the second week after Ferns. What has been more dramatic is the numbers of first time callers and new clients signing up with centres.
We are hearing first hand the various impacts the Ferns Report is having on Irish society. Survivors, supporters and concerned citizens have been in touch with us all over the country. While the impact on survivors has been varied, what we can say with certainty is that the coverage over the past three weeks has had a significant emotional impact on all survivors. Almost all current RCC clients have raised the report and have accessed extra support; some have spoken of their distress at the reawakening of their trauma during the coverage; some have spoken of their anger that survivors had to exposed themselves to this extent for society to finally feel the horror that it warranted, when society has known about this for so long.
On the other hand new clients have spoken about breaking their silence and feeling validated by the coverage. Many clients have been affected positively by the recognition and understanding, from those around them and society in general, they feel has come about through the Ferns report.
All centres have had calls from supporters of people who were abused looking for support and guidance.
· The RCNI is the national forum of Rape Crisis Centres, which provides a strong voice for survivors and is a catalyst for social change to end rape and all forms of sexual violence.
For information contact:
Cliona Saidlear 087 2196447