RCNI Press Release 15th May 2020
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) publication of Statistics on Victims and Suspected Offenders of Recorded Crimes (including 2018 and 2019 data) by An Garda Síochána gives brand new insight into sexual violence crime in Ireland.
For the first time we have data about the suspected sexual offenders, their sex and age and the age difference between them and the people they are suspected of abusing. This builds on the previous releases and on our knowledge about victims reporting.
The CSO reports that:
- 98% of suspected offenders of detected sexual violence crimes were male, (2018 CSO)
- 81% of sexual violence victims recorded as female (2019 CSO).
This is reflected in RCNI Rape Crisis Centre statistics where approximately 85% of those attending services for counselling and support are females and 15% are males.
These CSO statistics look at age. What we see is that:
- sexual violence predominately affected women under the age of 30 (2019 CSO)
- almost one in five suspected offenders (19%), were aged under 18 years at the time of the offence. The vast majority of these are accused of abusing other children. (2018 CSO)
- more than half of victims (55%) reporting historic sexual violence crimes were under 18 at the time the offence occurred (2019 CSO)
- One third (33%) of victims of recent sexual violence crimes reported were females aged under 18 years at the time of the offence (2019 CSO).
The RCNI recommends the CSO further disaggregates age profiles in the future in order to offer important insight into sexual violence experienced by children and develop a detailed profile of perpetrators of sexual violence and the abuse they perpetrate.
We know from RCNI statistics that there are age-based differences in the characteristics of abuse perpetrated against female and male children.
RCNI found that the child under the age of 13 is most likely to be abused by a male family member in the home, with the abuse lasting years. In contrast with this, female children between ages 13-17 will most likely be abused by friends/acquaintances/neighbours outside the home, with then abuse lasting hours. Boys will be less likely to be abused over the age of 13 as their vulnerability to abuse decreases as they age, whereas female vulnerability does not decrease to the same degree.
RCNI welcomes the development of information on the relationship between victims and perpetrators.
Clíona Saidléar, RCNI Executive Director said, ‘what we know already about the relationship between victims and perpetrators, is that in approximately 90% of cases, perpetrators are known to the person they abuse. Many of these abusers are within the family, whether parents, siblings or partners of the victim. Making these relationships visible in the crime statistics will be critical in understanding how the Covid context is impacting on who is perpetrating sexual violence and where.’
Rape Crisis Network Ireland (2016) National Rape Crisis Statistics and Annual Report 2015, RCNI. Available at: https://www.rcni.ie/wp-content/uploads/RCNI-RCC-StatsAR-2015-2.pdf
Rape Crisis Network Ireland (2014) Hearing child survivors of sexual violence, Towards a national response, RCNI. Available at: https://www.rcni.ie/wp-content/uploads/Hearing-Child-Survivors-of-Sexual-Violence-2013.pdf