Spike in rape crisis blamed on recession
THE Dublin Rape Crisis Centre dealt with nearly 10,000 calls last year as the recession drives up violence against women.
Its annual report has revealed a dramatic surge in first time callers to the national 24-hour helpline.
It said that 260 victims of recent rape and sexual assault were accompanied by trained DRCC volunteers at the Rotunda's sexual assault treatment unit last year.
CEO Ellen O'Malley Dunlop said: "Since the recession, there has been a disturbing year-on-year increase in calls to the national 24 hour helpline from victims of adult sexual violence.
"There has been a 23pc increase in first time callers between 2009 and 2012."
Ms Dunlop O'Malley said that last year, 54pc of calls to the helpline related to adult sexual violence.
She said that in recession times, some men get very frustrated and women and vulnerable adults are very often on the receiving end of that.
"There is a lot of anger and frustration," she said.
"Rape and sexual assaults are about the abuse of power, about overpowering someone else, demeaning someone else, it has nothing to do with sexuality.
"So when people are frustrated and don't have control over other aspects of their lives – it's not an acceptable excuse – but this is how it can be acted out."
Four out of 10 of sexual abuse incidents disclosed by 322 new clients in 2012 included other forms of violence, such as physical and psychological abuse, intimidation and threats to kill.
Information from from the newly released 2012 annual report and statistics showed:
q 12,040 contacts were handed by the DRCC's 24-hour helpline in 2012.
q 9,142 were genuine counselling calls.
q 4,046 calls were fist time contacts – an increase of 23pc.
q 4,647 repeat contacts were received, an increase of six per cent on 2011.
q 44pc of calls related to adult rape and 8pc of calls related to adult sexual assault.
q 54pc of calls related to adult sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and trafficking.
q 17pc of the callers were men.