White Ribbon Day overestimates reported rapes eight-fold

Campaign withdraws claim 3,500 rapes recorded last year; CSO figure was 451

White Ribbon Day Calls for an end the men’s violence against women in Ireland. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

White Ribbon Day Calls for an end the men’s violence against women in Ireland. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

The organisers of the high profile launch in Ireland of White Ribbon Day have been forced to retract their claims for the number of rapes recorded last year.

The retraction came after it emerged they had overestimated the number of rapes reported almost eight-fold.

Literature distributed at the Irish launch of the international campaign highlighting the problem of violence by men against women said there were 3,500 rapes recorded by the Irish authorities last year.

The official figure recorded by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) is 451.

The literature distributed by Carr Communications, which is handling the media for the campaign, said: “According to CSO statistics, there were 3,500 reported rapes in Ireland in 2013.”

However, the CSO data reveals 451 recorded rapes of women and men last year.

In response to queries from The Irish Times, spokeswoman for Carr Communications Orlaith McCarthy conceded a mistake had been made.

However, she said the figures were “from the Men’s Development Network which were verified and confirmed by them”.

She continued: “We have been notified that these figures… are incorrect and should not be used. An updated version of the press release will be issued shortly as soon as we can source the correct statistics.

“Alan O’Neill, CEO of the Men’s Development Network.. has apologised for the error in the figures provided by his organisation.”

The Irish element of what is billed as “the world’s largest male-led movement to end violence against women” was launched in Dublin city centre this morning.

It was supported by Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, Tom Meagher whose wife Jill was raped and murdered in Australia and broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan.