RCNI regret to announce that no RCNI National Rape Crisis Statistics will be available for 2016

The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) has announced, today (19.10.17), that it will not be publishing statistics on the experience of survivors of sexual violence relating to 2016.

The decision was made on foot of significant cuts to RCNI’s funding, which have resulted in a diminution of the network’s capacity to safely analyse and publish data on sexual violence.

Since 2005, RCNI has produced national statistics recording the collective experiences of up to 93% of the survivors of sexual violence that use Rape Crisis Centres (RCCs) around the country.

This powerful tool has been supporting survivors to becoming agents of change as they form part of an evidence base that has transformed policy and practice.

Clíona Saidléar, RCNI Executive Director said: “We have a duty to tell survivors’ stories safely, truthfully and accurately. This is our commitment to honouring survivors’ rights and experiences. We have achieved this integrity, credibility and accuracy for a decade.

“The removal of 70% of RCNI funding in 2015 risked dismantling the RCNI supported RCC database infrastructure, which delivered this gold standard system; a system which continues to be promoted as best practice by the official European body, EIGE, to all other EU countries.

“The funding cut has left a gap which we can no longer fund out of reserves and thus, the 2016 data is not of a standard that we feel would be ethical or safe to analyse and release collectively. This is why we have taken the decision not to process or publish 2016 data, as inaccurate data undermines both survivors and our work.

“In addition, we are concerned that the greatly weakened data collection and protection infrastructure will mean the sector struggles to reach EU GDPR compliance. At a time when we need to increase data governance standards and need to increase our knowledge, (indeed Tusla continues to draw upon and rely on data collection it no longer funds), a decrease in resources in this sensitive area is unsustainable.

“We continue to engage with Tusla in the hope that some resolution can be found that will enable the continued collection and usability of high-quality data from survivors into the future. In this way, survivor experiences can continue to be heard by Government, and therefore to influence Government policy in this area” added Ms Saidléar.

For information and comment: Clíona Saidléar, 087 2196447.

Notes:

  • For information please see previous statistical publications on www.rcni.ie
  • We will hold 2016 and 2017 data for a short while longer in anticipation of being able to bring it to a standard in the near future.
  • Processes of training, networking and supporting of data collection officers, policy and guidance reviews, data cleaning, analysis, oversight and independent verification could not be supported due to an absence of funding.

RCNI Press Release 27 Sept 2017 Rape and Pregnancy

Dear Editor,

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) responding to the government’s announcement of a referendum to be held on the 8th Amendment of the Constitution call on the public debate to be respectful and informed by the best available facts and compassionate understanding when discussing the realities facing girls and women in Ireland pregnant following rape.

Rape survivors have always featured disproportionately in the public debates on abortion access in Ireland but we have limited facts to guide us.

For some years RCNI have released data on the pregnancy outcomes for rape survivors attending rape crisis centres. It is critical to always note that these facts do not tell us about the options, intentions, choices and the feelings of rape survivors.

We know survivors’ experiences are highly diverse. Each survivor faces a unique set of circumstances that they are best placed to make decisions about. In rape crisis we seek to support and empower each survivor as the experts in their own lives and process of recovery. We cannot and do not judge.

We urge anyone interested in representing survivors’ interests in this debate to read the RCNI submission to the Citizen’s Assembly before making any assumptions http://www.rcni.ie/wp-content/uploads/RCNI-Citizens-Assembly-submission-FINAL.pdf .

Given the sensitivity and the potential pain this topic causes it is critical that survivors of rape are respectfully and factually represented, without judgement, and in their diversity.

Yours sincerely
Clíona Saidléar
Executive Director
Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI)
Carmichael centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7

Child Abuse Mandatory reporting and Tusla record on investigating

Rape Crisis network Ireland (RCNI) welcome One in Four’s annual report today (4th Oct 2017). In particular we welcome their figures regarding their child protection reports into Tusla and the outcomes of same. These demonstrate concerning indicators that we may not be ready for the mandatory reporting Minister Zappone announced this week.

Clíona Saidléar RCNI executive director said, ‘a mandatory reporting regime can impose on adult survivors of child sexual violence in a number of ways. We must ensure that the intention of protecting children does not come at a cost to those who have already survived such crimes and trauma and indeed do serve to protect children. How does it impact on survivors’ sense of confidence and control in the world to be subject to mandatory reporting? How does it feel to have that report not then investigated or worse deemed ‘unfounded’? How useful is the information shared with Tusla, at such potential cost, if left un-investigated?

‘Mandatory reporting can only be legitimate if our processes are fit for purpose and treat survivors with respect and dignity. The One in Four figures give rise to concerns which need to be addressed urgently by Minister Zappone as she champions the introduction of mandatory reporting in December.’

Figures:
One in four revealed today that of the 91 child protection cases reported to Tusla in 2016, in line with Children First guidance, only 9 were investigated. Five cases were assessed to be ‘unfounded’, one was found to be ‘founded’, and three investigations are ongoing. https://www.oneinfour.ie/annual-report-2016


RCNI Press release
4th October 2017

For further information
Clíona Saidléar
087 2196447

8th Amendment of the Constitution

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI), responding to the government’s announcement of a referendum to be held on the 8th Amendment of the Constitution, call on the public debate to be respectful and informed by the best available facts and compassionate understanding when discussing the realities facing girls and women in Ireland pregnant following rape.

Rape survivors have always featured disproportionately in the public debates on abortion access in Ireland but we have limited facts about the approximately 5% of all female rape victims who become pregnant.

For some years RCNI have released data on the pregnancy outcomes for rape survivors attending rape crisis centres. It is critical to always note that these facts do not tell us about the options, intentions, choices and the feelings of rape survivors.

We know survivors’ experiences are highly diverse. Each survivor faces a unique set of circumstances that they are best placed to make decisions about. In rape crisis we seek to support and empower each survivor as the experts in their own lives and process of recovery. We cannot and do not direct, force or judge.

We urge anyone interested in representing survivors’ interests in this debate to read the RCNI submission to the Citizen’s Assembly before making any assumptions http://www.rcni.ie/wp-content/uploads/RCNI-Citizens-Assembly-submission-FINAL.pdf .

Given the sensitivity and the potential pain this topic causes it is critical that survivors of rape are respectfully and factually represented, without judgement, and in their diversity.

RCNI call for Victim’s Ombudsman

As the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill is debated in the Seanad (Weds 27th) RCNI call on the government to put in place a Victims’ Ombudsman to ensure the rights of victims in this Bill and the EU Directive on Victims of Crime are fully vindicated within our justice system.

Clíona Saidléar, RCNI Executive Director said, ‘This Bill and the EU Directive set out measures to ensure that the victim is supported appropriately throughout the justice process. As we know currently only a minority of victims are making the decision to report and stay with the justice process. One of the reasons is a fear of the system, what it will ask of survivors and how re-traumatising the process might be. Without survivors reporting there can be no adequate justice response.’

Caroline Counihan, RCNI Legal Director said, ‘Because we believe that supporting survivors is fundamental to delivering justice we are calling for a dedicated structure, a Victims’ Ombudsman Office, whose sole remit is reception and investigation of transgressions of this Act. Its procedures should be simple, free, easy to use and swift. The measures in this important Bill will alleviate much of the trauma of a trial, an Ombudsman will ensure survivors’ rights under the law are fully vindicated.

‘RCNI would also very much welcome a justice culture where the norm is that victims’ direct evidence is pre-recorded and used in court cases in all but the most exceptional circumstances as determined by a judge. It is important to understand that the recording of evidence does not interfere with a defendant’s right to a fair trial but rather lifts part of the stress of testifying from victims.’

For more contact Cliona on 087 2196447

Notes: RCNI is a member of the Victims’ Rights Alliance, which also recommends the establishment of such an Ombudsman structure.

Data protection: The State cannot be allowed to exempt itself from GDPR fines

14 June 2017

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) today (14th June 2017) welcome the statement at the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality by Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon, that a proposal to exempt Public bodies from fines under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is of concern.

Clíona Saidléar, RCNI Executive Director said, ‘RCNI agree with the Commissioner that we should expect the highest standard of data protection from public bodies. RCNI would add that the capacity of civil society and the charity sector to hold the State to those highest standards of data protection, particularly in relation to the very significant amount of sensitive personal data we control, needs to be ensured by government.

‘For many charities providing services the principal risk to our beneficiaries is from the very State that has not secured our capacity to guard against the State itself. That that State now suggests it exempt itself from fines under GDPR should be cause for grave concern and cannot be allowed to stand.

‘To hold public bodies accountable, civil society must be empowered through capacity, resources and mechanisms that give us and our Data Protection Officers the independence to act robustly as data controllers as appropriate.

‘The Committee discussed the increased demands on the Data Protection Commissioner’s Office and the Courts in investigating and vindicating the rights of individuals and the need for resources for same. It is critical we bear in mind that the charity sector is also a key actor in protecting people’s data. We must reflect on how the charity sector will meet its obligations and how that will be structured into the government’s allocation of budgets and supporting the necessary structures.

‘Currently no independent funding stream exists from government for charities, particularly those funded by the State to provide services, to draw upon to fulfil their obligations as outlined in the regulation.’

 

RCNI launch 2015 Rape Crisis Statistics Report

Monday, 19th December 2016

Rape Crisis Centres trusted contact point for sexual violence survivors

-Rape Crisis Network Ireland launches annual report for 2015-

  • 13,208 Helpline contacts in 2015: 76 per cent were voice calls, ranging from 1 minute to 1.5 hours.
  • 67 per cent of survivors were subjected to other forms of violence (physical, emotional, psychological).
  • One in ten were subjected to sexual violence in both childhood and adulthood.

The Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) has today (19.12.16) launched its Rape Crisis Statistics and Annual Report 2015.  With over 13,000 calls to 11 Rape Crisis Centres last year, the report shows the importance of the centres as essential safe places for disclosure and support for survivors of sexual violence. The report indicates that of those using Rape Crisis Centres, 65 per cent of survivors had not previously reported to any formal authority. As such, RCNI data collection is one of the only places where these survivors’ experiences are documented and their voices can be heard.

Speaking at today’s annual report launch, Executive Director of RCNI, Clíona Saidléar, said: “Rape Crisis Network Ireland’s data fills a gap in the gathering of accurate and reliable information from survivors of sexual violence who have not reported to any formal authority. This database provides the most comprehensive and detailed information on sexual violence in the Irish context and is a vital resource to all those working towards ending sexual violence against women, men and children.

“Today we are also launching survivor feedback data on An Garda Síochana for the second year running. Following on from the groundbreaking RCNI report ‘Rape & Justice in Ireland’, with approval from the Garda Commissioner and the Garda Research Unit, we now collect and collate data on victim’s experiences of reporting to the Gardaí.

“On all three indicators: sensitivity; contact levels; and information, more survivors were satisfied with their experience with the Gardaí than in 2014. The report shows that 69 per cent of survivors who filed a complaint with the Gardaí felt that they were treated in a sensitive manner, that their complaint was taken seriously and the Gardaí were attentive, sympathetic and supportive. This is a six point increase from the previous year.

“We commend the Gardaí’s continued prioritisation and efforts to change culture and practice through specialist roles, and infrastructure, with the establishment of new Regional Protective Services Units, which will deal with a range of sensitive crimes such as sexual violence and domestic violence crimes. Leadership within the gardaí continues to be critical to ensure the improvements we would all like to see. As far as levels of contact are concerned, the improvement in satisfaction might be an indicator of the positive effect of the Garda Victim Services Offices, though as far as we know, they were not all yet operational by the end of 2015. Having this feedback also means that some requirements to collect data, under the EU Victim’s Directive and the national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender based violence, are being fulfilled.

“RCNI has received no funding from the Child and Family Agency Tusla for two years. Last year, a cumulative 70 per cent cut to our funding took effect and our core funding from Tusla was completely withdrawn. Because of this, we were unable to continue to provide the support we used to to the sector in relation to policy and guidance. We have worked hard to prioritse and support key policy areas but there is a gap opening up which needs to be urgently addressed. RCNI made the decision to continue operating our globally innovative and best practice data collection system without the support of Tusla, as there is no other mechanism possible to give voice to these survivors who are otherwise silenced.

“This report pulls together information gathered using RCNI’s unique, best in class Data, Knowledge and Information System to collect high quality and reliable data. The evidence gathered from 11 Rape Crisis Centres around Ireland in 2015 has policy implications for the whole of Government in terms of delivering the best response to victims and survivors of sexual violence.”

Key findings from the RCNI Rape Crisis Statistics and Annual Report 2015

  • 13,208 Helpline contacts: 76 per cent were voice calls, ranging from 1 minute to up to 1.5 hours.
  • 15,192 appointments in Rape Crisis Centres for counselling and support (1,384 people).
  • 180 people were accompanied by Rape Crisis Centres to a range of services including Sexual Assault Treatment Units, Gardaí and other medical facilities: total of 756 hours’ accompaniment.
  • 31 per cent of all calls were for information from public and professionals seeking expert advice.
  • The majority of survivors were female (88 per cent) and aged between 20 and 49 (83 per cent).
  • The vast majority of perpetrators of sexual violence were male (96 per cent), and known to the victims (85 per cent). Almost half of perpetrators were aged between 20 and 39, with 15 per cent of child sexual violence perpetrators under 18.
  • 67 per cent of survivors were subjected to other forms of violence (physical, emotional, psychological) in addition to sexual violence.
  • 24 per cent of survivors who became pregnant following rape accessed abortion.
  • 19 per cent of adults and only 1 per cent of child survivors experienced stranger rape.
  • 17 per cent experienced multiple incidents of sexual violence.
  • One in ten were subjected to sexual violence in both their childhood and adulthood.

The RCNI’s annual report is available to download from http://www.rcni.ie/wp-content/uploads/RCNI-RCC-StatsAR-2015.pdf

ENDS