Garda chief concerned at ‘worrying’ rise in Galway rapesOctober 12, 2012 - 7:30am
By Dara Bradley
Galway’s most senior Garda has expressed concern at the rise in the number of rapes perpetrated in Galway City – official figures show one rape every month was reported to Gardaí.
Chief Superintendent Michael O’Sullivan said it was “worrying” that there has been a 33 per cent increase in the numbers of rapes of male or female victims reported to Gardaí in the city in the first eight months of this year compared with the same period last year.
The official figures showed eight rapes were reported to Galway Gardaí during that period.
However, Rape Crisis Network Ireland, which supports the Galway Rape Crisis Centre, believes that the actual number of rapes could be as much as 80, ten times the actual reported figure.
Cliona Sadlier of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland said that an extensive prevalence study carried out by the organisation discovered a huge underreporting of sexual violence – just 10% of victims, according to the study, report rape or sexual assaults while 50% don’t tell anybody at all.
“There is a huge amount of silence around it . . . the actual figure could easily be ten times the official Garda figures,” she said.
However, Ms Sadlier said that the rise in the numbers of sexual assaults reported to Gardaí was not necessarily a bad thing – it could be that victims had more trust in Gardaí. The fact that Garda figures showed a rise in rapes doesn’t necessarily mean that the actual number has risen and it only shows that the numbers reported has risen, she said.
Ms Sadlier said high profile allegations against BBC’s Jimmy Saville means that the general populace is talking about sexual violence and rape more now than years ago and this could be leading to increase in reportage to Gardaí and rape crisis centres.
Meanwhile, in his report to the Galway City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) Chief Supt O’Sullivan there was more encouraging news in terms of general assaults.
The official figures showed that all categories of assaults (not including sexual) had fallen across the board.
Assaults causing harm are down 27% to 21 incidents in the period January to August. There were 146 minor assaults recorded in that period, a reduction of 13%.
Read more in today’s Galway City Tribune