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 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.