Increase in sexual assault reports, says centre

 

Statistics released by the Rape Crisis Centre indicate an increase in the level of sex assaults on both children and adults and a lack of confidence by victims in the legal system.

The statistics, relating to calls to the centre in 2001, reveal that almost 10,000 calls were made over the year to its 24-hour crisis line.

Only 31 per cent of victims of rape and sexual assault reported the assaults to the gardaí. The Rape Crisis Centre has called for greater confidence in the legal system by giving free legal help to the victims from the earliest stage of the legal process.

Most of the callers (88 per cent) were women and 34 per cent of all callers were aged between 15 and 19 years. Although prosecuted cases of child sexual abuse are more likely to end in convictions than cases of adult sexual assault, the Rape Crisis Centre has called for more attention from the Government to the protection of young people.

The number of assaults reported on victims by strangers has increased significantly from 21 per cent of all calls to 32 per cent over the year.

The Rape Crisis Centre also called for support from health boards and the public to cope with the ever-increasing demands for services.