Rise in sex assault cases reported to gardaí in Cork

Rise in sex assault cases reported to gardaí in Cork

There has been a spike in sexual assault cases reported across the three Cork districts, according to members of the force. Picture Denis Minihane.

Increased public confidence in the skills and resources of the Garda specialist sexual violence unit, along with a rise in the reporting of historic cases, has led to a spike in sexual assault cases reported across the three Cork districts, according to members of the force.

Cases of sexual assault (not aggravated) increased across the three districts, with an increase of seven incidents in Cork City from January to October, from 76 in 2020 to 83 in 2021.

In Cork North, the cases went from 19 to 42, an increase of 23; while in West Cork, cases jumped by 10 from 24 in 2020 to 34 in 2021.

While rape reports dropped in North Cork, both West Cork and Cork City saw an increase in cases reported to gardaí.

From January to October 2020, there were 37 rape incidents in Cork City, while 41 rapes were reported for the same period this year, an increase of four.

In Cork North, there were 21 rape cases from January to October last year, while there were 14 from January to October 2021, a decrease of seven.

However, in Cork West there was a significant rise in the number of rape cases reported, with less than 10 reported in 2020 (January to October) and 18 in 2021 for the same period.

New Protective Service Units 

West Cork Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan said the recently opened Protective Services Units (PSU) had instilled greater confidence in the community of West Cork, resulting in increased reporting.

“Speaking from the Cork County perspective, we have two relatively new protective service units set up. They work very closely with a lot of the voluntary and statutory groups, be it Tusla, HSE, West Cork Women Against Violence, Rape Crisis Centre, and many other excellent groups out there. They meet regularly with the PSUs and call in to meet the sergeant and detectives in those, and I suppose that has instilled confidence in people out there in the communities, which I am glad to see.”

'No one should be afraid to report a crime'

Chief Supt Cadogan encouraged everyone to report incidents to An Garda Síochána.

“I would just emphasise that no one should be afraid to report a crime, or to ring their local station and ask where their nearest protective unit is based. They can visit at any stage, have a conversation, sit down inside, and decide if they want to pursue it.

“I think everything is very clearly set out for them, they work with the victims of crime unit and the victim support as well so you have the full suite available to all victims of sexual crime, so there should be no fear there and I think that has certainly led to increased reporting, there is no doubt about that.” 

Cork City Chief Superintendent Tom Myers spoke on the increased cases in the city and said the vast majority of these cases are historical. 

"Some of them are going back many many years," he said. 

“It is great to see confidence in the Protective Services Unit and we are encouraging all victims of sexual abuse, no matter how long ago it is, that they will get a professional service when they come to us and the matter will be referred to the DPP," he added. 

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