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


Inaugural seminar of RESPECT Network, an all-Ireland initiative Promoting Safe Relationships in Higher Education towards addressing sexual violence


Today (25th Nov. 2016) RCNI are delighted to participate alongside our partners, in publicly launching the RESPECT Network at our first public conference in Newry’s, Canal Court Hotel. The RESPECT Network is an ongoing and growing collaboration between academics, students and relevant agencies in a concerted initiative to respond to and address sexual violence in the higher education experience across the island of Ireland.


Clíona Saidléar, RCNI Executive Director said, ‘we want all people in 3rd level education and particularly young people to experience an empowering and safe learning environment. That environment should be free from the threat or risk of sexual harassment and violence.


‘The public launch of the RESPECT network is an exciting next step in the work to prevent sexual violence, to build a resilient and safe learning environment and culture and to ensure responsive authorities supporting those communities.


‘Working together with the Universities across Ireland, academics and staff, the student bodies and NGOs we believe we can support that environment where healthy relationships flourish. Where there is victimisation it is vital that the community and all authorities respond appropriately in ways that empower and respect survivors.’



RESPECT is a collaborative research network of academics, students and third sector organisations from the North and South of Ireland. Our aim is to promote safer relationships for ALL by creating a starting point for future collaborations and research.

RESPECT is interested in three streams:

  1. Prevalence: Identification and extent of risk behaviours within relationships and associated outcomes.
  2. Prevention: The promotion of positive relationships. Including topics such as consent and the development of appropriate skills.
  3. Policy: Developing and evaluating policies for higher education and other organisations.


Visit our Facebook page on RESPECT Network and twitter @RESPECT_Net website will be going live today where you can find the list of collaborators and outline of full aims and objectives of the three streams (http://www.respectnet.org/)

The conference is entitled Promoting Safe Relationships in Higher Education and is being held in the Canal Court Hotel. Speakers include Prof. Janet Beer, Vice Chancellor of University of Liverpool, Prof. Bill Flack of Bucknell University USA, Dr Pádraig Mac Neela, NUIG, Dr Louise Crowley UCC, Dr Cherie Armour, Ulster University, Philip McCormack Cosc, Dr Clíona Saidléar RCNI, Helen Bracken, Nexus NI and many others.


For information

Cliona Saidlear on 087 2196447


Rape Crisis Network Ireland welcomes the clarification from the Supreme Court regarding the definition of consent in sexual violence law

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) today welcomed the clarification from the Supreme Court regarding the definition of consent in sexual violence law (Director of Public Prosecutions -v- O’R) and reiterate our call for a positive definition of consent to be included in our law. RCNI argue again that a defence of a belief in sexual consent should be based on the objective reasonableness of the belief rather than an honestly held belief alone.
The Supreme Court’s clarification that the standard expected for an acceptable defence of belief in consent does not have room for uncertainty is also very welcome. Thus any uncertainty on the part of the defendant as to their having consent at the time means that that this defence is not available to them. The existing law on recklessness set this standard and we welcome the clarification.
We would say to the Tánaiste Fitzgerald in light of this ruling and as the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill goes to Committee stage in the Oireachtas that there now does not appear to be any impediment to including a positive definition of consent. Indeed we would contend this clarification of the law as it currently stands would offer reason to introduce a positive definition of consent.

For further information

Clíona Saidléar

087 2196447

RCNI strongly welcomes the return to the Dáil of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill and is hopeful that it will include a definition of consent

RCNI strongly welcomes the return to the Dáil of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill this week by An Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald TD, and is hopeful that it will now be possible to amend this Bill to include a positive definition of consent to sexual activity.

If it is not, RCNI urges the introduction of such a definition with the minimum delay. Defining consent in our criminal law will help set a clear standard of behaviour that distinguishes sexual violence from legitimate sexual activity, for prosecutors, juries, victims and other witnesses in court, and also for the whole community outside court.

Caroline Counihan, RCNI Legal Policy Director said, “Our rape crisis centres are well aware of the damage caused by sexual violence to children. There is much here to commend.

RCNI also welcomes the inclusion in this Bill of much-needed new offences, and amendments to existing offences, to combat the scourge of child pornography. Caroline Counihan added that “a large part of this violence against children begins with “grooming” behaviours which do not always fit in to the existing categories of offences. The laws must fit the realities of today’s childhood. The introduction of a new offence of grooming of children including grooming via social media and otherwise through the use of information technology is very welcome.

Furthermore, RCNI is very much in favour of the introduction of a statutory regime, through which our judges will be able to regulate the disclosure of victims’ personal counselling records in criminal trials. For the first time, there will be a right to object to such disclosure and it is important that the relevant procedures work properly for victims. The survivor- therapist relationship is one which supports healing and recovery. It is a relationship of trust where survivors can find a uniquely safe space to talk about intimate, personal and perhaps frightening matters.

With regard to the special measures in the Bill to support child victims of sexual violence in Court, RCNI urges our legislators to extend these supports to all victims of sexual violence. This group of especially vulnerable victims deserves both to be protected from further trauma and to be enabled to give their best evidence, as far as possible.


For information


Caroline Counihan

Office mobile: 087 963 5201

E-mail: caroline.counihan@rcni.ie



  • RCNI, founded by Rape Crisis Centres in 1985, is a specialist information and resource centre on rape and all forms of sexual violence. Rape Crisis Centres provide free advice, counselling and support for all survivors of sexual violence.

RCNI encourages new government to enact the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) attended yesterday to the SPACE international event in Buswells hotel as part of their work towards ending sexual exploitation, support their call for the prompt enactment of Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015.

RCNI is a long standing member of the Turn Off The Red Light (TORL) campaign, whose legislative calls to protect those sexually exploited and to empower the state to address those who do the exploiting are included in the far ranging 2015 Bill.

RCNI continue to call on Tánaiste Fitzgerald to reconsider the lack of a definition of consent in the Bill, a word that has been used in many sections of the Bill but remains undefined. Establishing in law a clear standard of behaviour that distinguishes sexual violence from sexual activity would help prosecutors, juries, witnesses, survivors and their communities.

RCNI also call for the amendment, which victim support organisations collectively called for to section 33 on the disclosure of sensitive and private records in an investigation, to be introduced. At the last reading this vital amendment to protect victims was referred to the Attorney General for advice.
Finally, RCNI strongly urge the Tánaiste not to miss this opportunity to extend the special measures for criminal evidence laid out for children victims of sexual violence, to all vulnerable victims including adults.


For information

Clíona Saidléar

087 2196447



  • RCNI, founded by Rape Crisis Centres in 1985, is a specialist information and resource centre on rape and all forms of sexual violence. Rape Crisis Centres provide free advice, counselling and support for all survivors of sexual violence.
  • The RCNI believe the introduction of hate crime legislation in Ireland for sexual harassment and sexual bullying would improve protections for women, men and children. RCNI endorses and supports the report of the Hate and Hostility Research Group at the University of Limerick and the growing partnerships calling for this gap in our laws to be addressed.

Launch of the first national RCNI report on LGBT survivors of sexual violence attending Rape Crisis Centres

This is a key tool for responses, policy and strategies to fight hate crimes against the LGBT community.

Today Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone launched the RCNI statistical report Finding A Safe Place: LGBT survivors of sexual violence and disclosure in Rape Crisis Centres, which highlights vulnerabilities and the need for safe places for LGBT survivors and a safe and open conversation about the issues.

Clíona Saidléar, head of RCNI said, ‘worryingly, LGBT survivors can take up to twice as long to report the crime compared with their straight counterparts. They also rely much more on friends and partners and less on parents and family than straight people do. These two findings suggest the potential isolation and the added difficulties survivors who are also LGBT face in reaching out and seeking support. This and other findings in this report should act as a catalyst for action to policy makers, to service providers and to community leaders to transform responses towards creating greater safety for LGBT survivors.’

RCNI also welcome their partners Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), and Gay Switchboard Ireland in helping to launch this report and bringing forward the learning from this report.

Odhrán Allen, Director of Mental Health at GLEN said, “It is clear there is a lack of awareness of the problem of sexual violence both in the LGBT community and among the general public. This report will underpin efforts by voluntary and statutory providers to support LGBT people who have experienced sexual violence and to promote reporting and help-seeking. A critical next step will be the introduction of hate crime legislation that will protect LGBT people from violence and harassment motivated by homophobia, biphobia and transphobia”.

Adam Shanley, Director of Gay Switchboard Ireland said, “This report is an important effort in focusing attention on the issues that face LGBT people in a post-marriage equality Ireland. Discussion about sexual violence in the community is so far to the margins it is all but invisible. At Gay Switchboard Ireland we want to make talking about sexual violence safe for the LGBT community. The report has prompted us to hold a community discussion with stakeholders across the LGBT spectrum on the topic as an opportunity to start the conversation.”

RCNI concluded, ‘Survivors’ facing multiple disadvantages often remain voiceless as their risks when disclosing may be higher. The unique RCNI collective data system is sometimes their only safe way to be heard and to be counted. RCNI calls on the government to place value on this platform for the silenced and fund it again so that this first LGBT report may not be the last.’

Key findings:

  • In 2013, 88 LGB survivors (4%) of sexual violence attending 15 RCCs for counselling and support identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB).
  • Please Note Transgender survivors who were using the services in 2013, weren’t included in the statistical analysis due to the numbers being too low to safely do so. Notwithstanding, this is a report informed by the transgender users of RCC services and pertinent to transgender people and all those concerned with LGBT rights.
  • LGB survivors disclosed higher levels of multiple incidents of sexual violence than heterosexual survivors (26% compared to 15%).
  • GB males disclosed almost twice the levels of rape of heterosexual males (63% compared to 34%)
  • LB female survivors disclosed higher rates of abuse by male and female perpetrators abusing together (10%) than heterosexual females (2%).
  • 47% of LGB survivors waited over ten years to report the abuse compared with 21% of heterosexual survivors who took the same length of time to report.
  • 25% of LGB survivors disclosed first to a friend compared to 12% of straight survivors. 28% disclosed to parents or other family against 39 % of heterosexual survivors.
  • All LB survivors who became pregnant as a result of rape terminated the pregnancy.


homepage – Rape Crisis Network Ireland<http://www.rcni.ie/>
Presents all aspects of sexual violence with information for women, men, survivors, and supporters with contact details for all rape crisis centers in Ireland.

  • Gay Switchboard Ireland’s community discussion chaired by Adam Shanley takes place at 6:30 pm in Old Chocolate Factory, 26 Kings Inn St, panellists include, Odhrán Allen (GLEN), Broden Giambrone (TENI) Anne Scully (RCNI), Lynne Cahill (TCD).
  • This report is based on data from 15 rape crisis centres in 2013. Statutory funding was removed from the RCNI Data, Knowledge and Information System through which that data was collated in 2014.
  • RCNI, founded by Rape Crisis Centres in 1985, is a specialist information and resource centre on rape and all forms of sexual violence. Rape Crisis Centres provide free advice, counselling and support for all survivors of sexual violence.
  • Gay Switchboard Ireland is 41 years supporting the community, making it the oldest LGBT+ support service in Ireland. For more information:  http://gayswitchboard.ie/

  • GLEN, founded in 1988, is a Policy and Strategy focused NGO which aims to deliver ambitious and positive change for LGBT people in Ireland. For more information:  http://www.glen.ie/