'An upward trend': Sexual assault cases up by 30 per cent in a year, says FSI 6 months ago

'An upward trend': Sexual assault cases up by 30 per cent in a year, says FSI

There has been a 30 per cent rise in sexual assault cases in the space of a year, according to the state's forensic science laboratory.

Forensic Science Ireland (FSI) says that it is dealing with a "continuous upward trend" in such cases.

"That has increased pretty significantly over the year," FSI director general Chris Enright said yesterday.

The agency is investigating the reason for the greater caseload, working with regional sexual assault treatment units, Rape Crisis Centres and the Department of Justice.

The increase in cases, he said, could be a combination of a rise in sexual assaults and in the levels of reporting of such incidents, reports the Irish Examiner.

The FSI's role in cases like this is to examine evidence including pieces of clothing and swabs from rape kits taken at treatment units around the country.

The process can take up to a couple of weeks, with certain cases prioritised.

The agency has recently adopted new technology to allow it to analyse toxicology samples from victims to identify substances like alcohol and drugs, as well as to test for spiking.

The FSI's 2018 report, released yesterday, showed that it assisted in 21 sexual assault cases last year.

The rise in cases dealt with by the FSI matches an overall increase in reported sexual assaults in recent years.