Dublin Rape Crisis Centre helpline sees "significant surge" in calls, according to new report
"There has been a significant surge in demand."
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has seen yet another increase in calls, up almost six percent compared to 2018.
The charity's national helpline saw a total of 14,159 contacts in 2019, with an increase to 617 clients seeking therapy and counselling, according to the DRCC's annual report for 2019.
As well as this, there was also a considerable increase in contacts seeking help in engaging in the criminal justice system.
“We have to underline again what a lonely place the justice system is for those who report sexual offences," says DRCC CEO Noeline Blackwell.
"While we are glad to support as many as we can, our support, dependent on the public fundraising resources we can bring to it, is no substitute for adequate structured supports for victims of these most intimate of crimes."
Blackwell added that the increase in calls has been difficult to manage due to the services' drop in funds which has "fallen off a cliff" since the beginning of Covid-19.
"We are glad that both the Department of Justice and Tusla recognised sexual violence support services as priority services and continued their support for 2020," she says.
"However, we are highlighting now that as restrictions have eased, there has been a significant surge in demand, putting our services under unprecedented pressure. It will be essential that we can continue and even expand our work to cope with that surge as we face into the winter and into 2021."
The DRCC today launched a new website including a webchat service, allowing contacts to receive online text support from a counsellor.
The new service hopes to provide support to those who don't yet feel comfortable making a voice call, or do not have the adequate privacy to do so.
You can access the webchat here or contact the DRCC's national helpline on 1 800 77 8888.