REPORTS of rape and sexual assault have more than doubled in Cork city in the last 12 months.
There have been 25 incidents of rape reported so far in 2017, compared to 11 in the same time period last year.
At the same time, there were 112 incidents of sexual assault reported, up from 47 in 2016.
The figures were revealed at the Cork City Joint Policing Committee meeting in City Hall yesterday and Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, who was in attendance, expressed his concern at the rise.
“This appears to be a significant jump in a very serious crime," he said.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said the rise can be explained in part by an increase in the reporting of historical incidents.
“Some of them would be historical in nature,” Mr McPolin said.
“We had seen a slow rise in reporting and then a substantial increase in the last 12 months.”
He also suggested the work of the recently established Divisional Protective Services Units (DPSUs) may also be a factor in increased reporting.
The unit was trialled on a pilot basis last year and now has a staff of 13 dedicated to investigating sexual crimes, human trafficking, child abuse and domestic abuse.
“It is a dedicated unit, who investigate all these types of crimes,” Mr McPolin said.
“We have a Detective Inspector, two Garda Sergeants and 10 Gardaí and they are all trained in this particular category of crime."
“I think that has given people solace and victims who might not normally come forward, they see that there is a dedicated unit and they are willing to go to them.
"Victims are also being referred by other support agencies. So we would attribute a large part of the increase to the unit.”
The unit is based in Anglesea Street but covers the whole of Cork city. It also investigates cases of crimes against children and child welfare.
So far in 2017, there have been 16 cases of abandoning a child, child neglect and cruelty in the city, up from 12 in the same period in 2016.