Cork Gardaí record a surge in the number of reported rape cases

Cork Gardaí record a surge in the number of reported rape cases
Mary Crilly of the Cork Sexual Violence Centre said the garda's Protective Services Unit is supportive of victims of abuse. Pic; Larry Cummins

100 more people have attended the Cork Sexual Violence Centre so far this year in comparison to the same period in 2017.

Mary Crilly, director of the Cork Sexual Violence Centre, disclosed the figure at this afternoon's meeting of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee (JPC).

She was speaking in the wake of revelations by Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin, who confirmed a 48% increase in the number of rape reports in the year to date in comparison to the same period last year.

Chief Supt McPolin's report showed that there were 49 reports of a rape of a male or female between January and October 2018.

The report also showed a 21% decline in the number of sexual assault reports, falling from 122 to 96.

Chief Supt McPolin welcomed the increase in the number of reports. He said it reflected a greater confidence in the services available.

"Those figures are the number of cases reported to Gardai that we investigate," he told the JPC.

"There is a great confidence in injured parties coming forward because of the Protected Services Unit (PSU); our unit of dedicated, trained gardaí.

"Victims are more trusting of the process and are confident that they are receiving support. There is a greater confidence that reports will be handled in a more sensitive manner."

Ms Crilly echoed these sentiments.

"The PSU is amazing and supportive; we need to make sure that work continues," she said.

"I welcome the increased number of reports. We think about sexual abuse as a small thing that isn't happening but one in five girls are abused as children and one in seven boys are.

"Only 10% of people will go to the guards, a refuge or similar service but these people need to know that these services are available and that they will be believed, they will be listened to."

We have come a long way, Ms Crilly added, but she stressed that there is much more work to be done.

She welcomed confirmation that the government has commissioned a second major report in sexual violence but criticised the time allocated for the work.

"Why it is going to take two years when the money is there is beyond me," she said.

She welcomed a sea change in attitude towards sexual violence in Ireland.

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