CORK CITY have reported a tripling in rape report figures from January to November 2017 according to the Irish Examiner.
Mary Crilly, head of the Sexual Violence Centre Cork, has described the dramatic rise in figures as a “wake-up” call.
Mrs. Crilly said the figures better represent the reality of rape in Ireland and show that co-operation between the center and gardai is working.
She was speaking after a meeting of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee yesterday heard that the number of reported rapes of a male or female has jumped from 13 between January and November 2016 to 40 for the same period this year – a 208% increase.
“I, for one, welcome the increase in figures,” she said. “The rise in these figures is coming a bit closer to the reality of rape in this city.”
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said the figures have risen in other parts of the country as well and that further analysis is needed to determine why there has been such an increase in the Cork figures.
However, he said, many of the reported cases are historical and the spike in figures most likely reflects greater confidence among victims of rape to report the crime to gardai.
The Divisional Protective Services Unit, a dedicated garda unit set up to investigate rape and sexual assault, was set up last year and comprises a detective inspector, two detective sergeants, and 10 detective gardai, has helped streamline the investigations into such cases.
However, Ms. Crilly said that, despite the enhanced garda unit, rape remains one of the most unreported crimes in Ireland.
She said that the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the South Infirmary Victoria Hospital has conducted more than 130 forensic examinations so far this year.
Not all those examined were in Cork, and not all had a garda present, she said.
The volume of tests conducted, as compared to the number of reported rapes, shows just how much work remains to be done.
“What’s heartbreaking, what makes me angry, and why I keep going, is that victims still feel it’s their fault. That’s what drives me mad,” she said.
“Everything that comes from them reinforces that they were in some way to blame.
“We need to change the conversation about the guys that are doing this. The minority of guys who are doing this will continue to do it, and that’s what we need to stop.”
The Cork Sexual Violence Centre worked with 247 clients this year and fielded 1,500 calls.