Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) Press Release

28th March 2018

Report Rape figures jump a shocking 28% according to new Crime Statistics release

RCNI today welcome the CSO release of crime statistics ‘under reservation’ from An Garda Siochána for the first time since they were suspended at the end of 2016. We support the continued effort by all parties to ensure that these vital statistics become reliable and accurate reflections of reported crime in Ireland today.

RCNI call on government and all parties to ensure that, where we can have good data on sexual violence, we make every effort to ensure this evidence is accurate and available.

Clíona Saidléar, RCNI Executive Director said, ‘In 2017 all recorded sexual offences rose by almost 17% with rape up 28% and sexual assault (non-aggravated) up 15%. These are very significant increases.
RCNI recognise that the CSO is releasing these figures ‘under reservation’. This is a compromise between having the continued unacceptable absence of all statistics and releasing some that have not yet reached an acceptable standard but which give us a good indication of what those numbers are. The large changes in reporting numbers in sexual offences from 2016 – 2017 tell us why this release, even if under reservation, is so important.

Saidléar continued, ‘We owe all victims of crime dignity, respect and truth. The CSO were not satisfied that the headcount of reported crimes and classification of reports was dependable, and so took the decision to cease releasing knowingly inaccurate statistics. This was the only decision possible under basic data governance standards. RCNI made this same decision with our own Rape Crisis Data in 2016 as the complete lack of funding from government meant that the RCNI could not support standardisation and verification processes.

‘To be able to say anything truthful or meaningful through statistical data you have to be able to say that the base data entering the system at every point is consistent, standardised, accurate and verified. To talk about data in statistical terms you also need enough data to make any sort of meaningful contribution to knowledge, indeed you also have to have the numbers to ensure safety and privacy for your data subject. This is the fundamental ethics of data for statistical purposes.’

‘The current situation on sexual violence statistics in Ireland means that we have all too little statistical insights into sexual violence. Given the nature of the crime in our culture this lack of insight arises, in part, out of the silence around the issue. These crime statistics only represent those who report and are therefore the tip of the iceberg. But in the places where survivors make themselves known to us, such as in reporting a crime or contacting and a rape crisis centre, we must take seriously our duty to learn and evidence as much as it can in an appropriate, legal and respectful manner. We must not continue to shape our responses and prevention strategies in the absence of such basic knowledge.’

Crime Statistics annual to Q4 2016 and 2017 http://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-rc/recordedcrimeq42017/additionalstatisticaltables/#d.en.157454
– RCNI annual rape crisis statistics 2004 – 2015 available on www.rcni.ie under publications

For more information:
Cliona Saidlear on 087 2196447