Children were confirmed or suspected perpetrators of 20% of sex crimes last year

New CSO crime figures break down age and gender for first time

Children, those under the age of 18 years, were the confirmed or suspect perpetrators in almost 20 per cent of all sexual crimes reported to the Garda last year, newly-released figures show.

Of the total number of sexual crimes reported to the Garda in 2019, 83 per cent of the complainants were alleging they had been sexually abused when they were children.

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre chief executive Noeline Blackwell said while there were still barriers to reporting sexual crimes, more victims than ever were coming forward yet the resources were not in place to help them.

“There was a commitment that every [Garda] division would have one [a specialist unit dealing with crimes of intimate violence] by late 2019 or early 2020. It’s essential that this happens,” she said, noting “only 10” such units had opened though 28 were expected.


“The specialist services have led to a much better, more efficient and less traumatic experience for victims,” Ms Blackwell added.

Sex crimes were still “vastly under-reported”, and in those cases where victims came forward and reported to the Garda their cases were investigated thoroughly.

More than 80 per cent of victims in sexual crimes reported to the Garda are female, and 98 per cent of the perpetrators in sexual offences are male, according to the new set of crime data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The new data is contained in the first statistical release of its kind in the Republic in that it focuses on the gender and age of crime victims and suspected offenders in all recorded crimes.

In homicide cases, 82 per cent of the victims were male, while in 59 per cent of assault cases in 2019 the victims were male.

However, the gender dynamic is reversed for sexual offences, with 81 per cent of sex crime victims in 2019 being female. And of the sexual crimes reported to the Garda in 2018, 98 per cent of the confirmed of suspected perpetrators were male.

Some of the information released on Friday relates to 2019 and some to 2018.

The figures on sexual offending confirmed these types of crimes are overwhelming perpetrated by men on woman. However, when it comes to non-sexual violent offending, the majority of the victims are male.

Lengthy periods

Of the sex crimes that were reported to the Garda in 2019, 62 per cent of the offences had occurred within a one-year period before they were reported.

However, many other victims had waited for very lengthy periods before reporting the sexual crimes perpetrated on them, with 24 per cent of all sexual crimes reported to the Garda in 2019 having occurred 10 years or more before the victims went to the Garda.

Of the homicides that were reported to the Garda in 2019, just over 6 per cent were cases of a female killing a female. A further 6 per cent of cases involved a female offender killing a male victim.In just over 17 per cent of homicide cases a male perpetrator had killed a female victim.

The overwhelming majority of cases, just over 70 per cent of the total homicides committed in the Republic in 2019, involved a male perpetrator killing a male victim.

In the area of sexual offending, just under 2 per cent of the total sexual crimes recorded by the Garda in 2019 involved a female perpetrator and female victim, and one half of 1 per cent of cases involved a female perpetrator and male victim.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times