RCNI release National Rape Crisis Statistics 2013 report; call for renewed whole of government attention to the issue of sexual violence

RCNI Press Release – Wednesday 12th November 2014

Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) release their National Rape Crisis Statistics 2013 report and call for renewed whole of government attention at this time to the issue of sexual violence

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald officially launched the report today at the Royal Irish Academy. Other speakers included Anne Scully (RCNI Chair), Dr Clíona Saidléar (RCNI Acting Director), and Elaine Mears (RCNI Data and Services Information Manager).

This comprehensive report pulls together information gathered using RCNI’s unique, best in class Data and Knowledge Collection System from 2,203 survivors of sexual violence who presented to 15 Rape Crisis Centres across Ireland in 2013, and the findings have policy implications for the whole of government in terms of delivering an urgent, satisfactory response to address the needs of survivors of sexual violence.

Elaine Mears, RCNI Data and Services Information Manager said: “Teenagers who experience sexual violence may not be receiving the best response, because these findings once again emphasise that these children more commonly disclose patterns of abuse experienced by adults. Survivors also reveal that 14% of perpetrators of the sexual violence against them were themselves children. Through this report RCNI brings greater understanding to how factors such as age, gender and legal status strongly influence patterns of abuse and therefore inform how we can respond appropriately to the needs of all survivors.”

Ms. Mears continued: “For the first time, we release RCNI findings on the contact and experience of survivors reporting to An Garda Síochána. 57% of survivors who reported to the Gardaí felt they were treated in a sensitive manner, and 59% received ongoing contact from the Gardaí on their case. RCNI are engaging with An Garda Síochána to further understand the information coming through the RCNI data and knowledge information system to determine which possible responses are appropriate.”

Dr. Clíona Saidléar, Acting Director, RCNI said: “Responding appropriately to survivors must be a priority for the whole of government. To do this, we must have the best possible understanding of patterns and nature of sexual violence, in order to inform the approach to service provision for survivors, as well as in challenging the stereotypes and inaccurate, damaging societal attitudes that exist regarding all aspects of rape and sexual abuse.

This report, along with others generated using the RCNI Data and Knowledge Collection System is a continuation of the critically important work being done in the Rape Crisis Sector by a combination of cooperating stakeholders to generate that understanding.  The findings are a vital tool in generating knowledge and awareness, identifying continuing or new patterns of sexual violence and tracking changes in the key characteristics of perpetrators and survivors as well as the details of the occurrence, nature and extent of the abuse itself.”

Dr Saidléar continued: “The findings contained within this report highlight the crucial role this data plays in providing relevant, cost-effective answers to vital practice questions, including all aspects of uptake and usage of Rape Crisis Centre awareness, support and prevention services.  The report should not simply be regarded as a record of what happened in 2013, but rather, used as a valuable resource to plan for the future and inform the necessary responses from government to address the problem of sexual violence, as well as implementing a decisive prevention strategy.

The findings of this report represent a continuation of over 12 years of vital data collection, used by researchers, practitioners and policymakers in our collective efforts to end sexual violence towards women, men and children. This valuable resource is now under serious threat due to a lack of funding. We call on the Minister for Justice and Equality to ensure the preservation of this resource in order to maintain continuity of data so RCNI can continue to inform policy formation in this area.”

Interim Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan said: “The figures released today are an invaluable aid in our ongoing fight against sexual crime. We want to ensure that victims of sexual crime are treated with compassion and empathy, and can have the confidence that they will be taken seriously, supported, and a thorough investigation is undertaken. We will continue to work with bodies such as the RCNI to ensure that victims of sexual crime receive the best possible support.”

Key Findings of the Report

Some the key findings of the report are presented below. This information refers to the 15 Rape Crisis Centres in Ireland who entered information into the Data and Knowledge Collection System.

Counselling and Support

  • In 2013, 32,026 contacts were made to Rape Crisis Centre helplines in Ireland, representing 3,195 hours of calls.
  • 2,467 people took up counselling and support services in RCCs in 2013, resulting in 22,460 appointments.
  • 56% more counselling and support was given to survivors of multiple incidents of sexual violence than other survivors.
  • 7% of survivors attending RCCs were children
  • Rape Crisis Centres accompanied 603 people to a range of different services including Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATUs), the Gardaí and PSNI.
  • 18% of those accompanied by RCCs were children (Page 12)
  • 23% of RCC work was carried out by volunteers (Page 9)

Reporting

  • 48% of survivors of adult sexual violence reported to a formal authority.
  • 57% of survivors who reported the abuse felt that the Gardaí treated them in a sensitive manner.
  • 63% of child survivors attending RCCs first disclosed the abuse to parents

Perpetrator Information

  • 91% of perpetrators of sexual violence were known to the survivor.
  • 14% of perpetrators were children (aged under 18)
  • 23% of survivors who were abused when under the age of 13 were abused by other children
  • 61% of survivors aged 13 to 17 were subjected to rape

This research also reinforces the findings of RCNI research published earlier this year focusing on the severe trauma experienced by refugees and asylum seekers attending Rape Crisis Centres, and highlights the unique vulnerabilities and difficulties that they face.

The RCNI National Rape Crisis Statistics 2013 report can be downloaded in its entirety on www.rcni.ie from 10am on Wednesday 12th November 2014.

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