LGBT people take longer to report rape, research shows

Rape Crisis Network report suggests gay people face difficulties in seeking support

Gay people who have experienced sexual violence take up to twice as long to report it and face added difficulties in reaching out for support, a new report suggests.

The first national Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) report on LGBT survivors of sexual violence attending rape crisis centres will be published today.

Some 88 lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) people attended 15 rape crisis centres in 2013 – 4 per cent of the total number who attended.

The report finds these survivors disclosed higher levels of multiple incidents of sexual violence than heterosexual survivors (26 per cent, compared to 15 per cent).


It finds nearly half (47 per cent) of lesbian, gay or bisexual survivors waited more than 10 years to report the abuse, compared with 21 per cent of heterosexual survivors who took more than 10 years.

Gay or bisexual males disclosed almost twice the levels of rape that heterosexual males did, at 63 per cent compared to 34 per cent.

A quarter of LGB survivors disclosed the abuse first to a friend, compared with 12 per cent of straight survivors, while 28 per cent disclosed to family members, compared with 39 per cent of heterosexual survivors.

The report said all lesbian or bisexual people who became pregnant as a result of rape terminated the pregnancy.

Transgender victims

RCNI said transgender survivors who used the rape crisis services in 2013 were not included in the statistical analysis due to the numbers being too low to safely do so.

“Notwithstanding, this is a report informed by the transgender users of RCC services and pertinent to transgender people and all those concerned with LGBT rights.”

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr Katherine Zappone will today launch the report, Finding a Safe Place: LGBT Survivors of Sexual Violence and Disclosure in Rape Crisis Centres.

Referring to the findings that LGBT survivors take up to twice as long to report sexual violence and rely much more on friends and partners than on family members, the head of RCNI Clíona Saidléar said: "These two findings suggest the potential isolation and the added difficulties survivors who are also LGBT face in reaching out and seeking support."