Rape Crisis Centre Warning to Revellers: Watch for Predators

Irish Independent
December 24, 2008

THE number of people attending sexual assault units in hospitals escalates during the festive period, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has warned.

Chief executive Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop said yesterday people should be extra vigilant at Christmas, and urged revellers to look after friends, keep an eye on their drinks and to travel in groups.

"During Christmas, the amount of people calling our helpline and going to sexual assault units peaks," she said.

"It's a sociable time of year and while it's good to see people having fun, we need to remember that there are predators out there who will prey on those who are vulnerable."

Ms O'Malley-Dunlop said that over 2,100 people rang the Rape Crisis Centre helpline during last December and January, and 47 people were accompanied by the DRCC to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit at the Rotunda Hospital.

"The figures show that we need to be really aware of our personal safety at Christmas and try to stay with friends when we're out, making sure to trust our instincts if we're in a situation we're not comfortable with," Ms O'Malley-Dunlop said.

Ms O'Malley-Dunlop emphasised that the helpline service is also there for those who suffered child abuse, as well as for older victims of sexual assault.

She said she expected that the recent high-profile reports of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne might trigger memories of childhood sexual abuse for people.

"During the festive period people spend a lot of time with their families and often repressed memories can resurface," she said.

The DRCC National 24-hour helpline can be reached at 1800 778888.


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