Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has called on the Minister for Justice to increase funding for organisations who provide support to those who have been affected by sexual assault and sexual violence. His comments come as figures released yesterday by the CSO show that most survivors of sexual assault are attacked by a person or persons they know.
Teachta Kenny said:
“The recorded statistics and analysis released by the CSO make it quite clear that Ireland has a very serious problem with sexual violence that must be addressed.
“The headline figures tell us four out of five victims knew the suspect in their case, with one in five reporting the suspect to be a friend or relative, 16% being blood relatives, and 15% being current or ex-partners.
“I carried out my own analysis of the figures earlier today. There were 2,372 cases of sexual assault where the suspect was known to the victim, and shockingly over half of them were children. That is a shocking statistic. There is a person whose life is irrevocably changed behind every single case.
“Resources to cope with the aftermath of these assaults are at a premium as things currently stand. Many of the discussions I have held with Chief Superintendents across the country have centred around the resourcing of their divisional protective service units. Most have indicated that a large part of their caseload are historical sexual offences against children, and I am aware of units that are unable to take on cases related to domestic or intimate partner violence which was their initial workload.
“After finding the bravery to make a disclosure, children and their families sometimes struggle to find services that are equipped to offer the very specialised support they require. Most organisations providing support services are in the unfortunate situation where they have to put children on a waiting list to access therapeutic interventions because their funding streams are mainly dependent on fundraising.
“These organisations have to fundraise to bridge the gap in funding that the state will not meet – this has to change, especially given the stark figures released yesterday.”