Three students reported being raped during UCC freshers' week
Sexual assault has become a feature of college freshers' week, a sexual assault support organisation has warned.
Three students reported that they were raped in the week that UCC classes began this semester.
It's something that happens almost yearly when the college reopens, Mary Crilly of the Cork Sexual Violence Centre told the Cork City Joint Policing Committee yesterday.
These attacks often occur in accommodations rather than out in public, she said.
"It is (awful) but I don’t think it’s unusual," Ms Crilly said on RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland.
"This is the other side of freshers, we see it nearly every year.
"Unfortunately, it can happen in the accommodation they’re staying in, very few of them are on the street.
"It could be somewhere where they feel very safe."
There are "predators", she added, who target young women.
They often make women feel as though they may be to blame for being raped because they'd been drinking or they might have given the "wrong signals."
"These young people are going in, thinking about the future, the course they’re doing, the excitement of being out of home and feeling really grown up."
The women who said that they were raped had come forward to the Cork Sexual Violence Centre but hadn't reported the incidents to Gardaí, Ms Crilly said.
Each of the women was aged either 18 or 19.
Ms Crilly has called for more resources and staff for the Garda Protective Services Unit in Cork City, which deals with serious crimes including rape.
Here are a number of organisations that offer support to victims of sexual assault.
Rape Crisis Network Ireland: 091 563676
A guide to the legal process for survivors of sexual violence via Rape Crisis here
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre: 1800 77 8888
Domestic and Sexual Violence Helpline Northern Ireland: 0808 802 1414
One In Four: (01) 6624070
Sexual Assault Treatment Units: via the HSE here