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Calls to Helpline about Rape and Sexual Assault continue to rise - 43% increase since 2012

CARI 2013 / 2014 Annual Report Press Release

CARI 2013 / 2014 Annual Report Launch in Buswells Hotel 10:45am Monday May 25th 2015; Dr. James Reilly TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, to launch.

Calls to Helpline about Rape and Sexual Assault continue to rise - 43% increase since 2012
Launching the Annual Report, Dr. James Reilly said “CARI as a voluntary organisation, has been at the forefront of the battle against child sexual abuse for 25 years and has made a major contribution to healing the hurt of children who have experienced sexual abuse by helping them on the road to recovery. CARI has greatly improved the lives of thousands of children and parents across the country and are playing a vital role in creating awareness around child sexual abuse.  I wish them well in their future endeavours.”

In 2012, CARI first noticed a marked increase in calls to the helpline in relation to rape and sexual assault. We also noticed that in many of these cases, both the victim and the alleged perpetrators were teenagers. These figures steadily increased in 2013 and now, by the end of 2014, worryingly show an overall 43% increase over the three years.  Again, many of the calls were in relation to rape and sexual assault of teenagers, where the alleged perpetrators were also teenagers. While part of this increase is due to how CARI now records such reports, the underlying trend is undeniable.

CEO Mary Flaherty says “What is particularly disturbing is that the teenagers report being further traumatised by the fact that these assaults were viewed and discussed by their peers on social media sites, which often led to the isolation and bullying of the victims.”

Mary continues “CARI recommends an intervention / prevention approach in dealing with these issues. Such interventions and preventions include the implementation of a national education programme for teachers and parents. This uniform approach has the potential to provide a dual supportive approach in meeting the needs of children and parents.”

Mary concludes “A treatment programme for sexualised behaviour in young children is urgently needed. A significant proportion of referrals to CARI in recent years are for such behaviours in the under-12 age group.”

Other Highlights from CARI 2013 / 2014 Annual Report

New Pilot Accompaniment / Advocacy Service (Galway Child Advocate Project)
In 2014, we developed our first fully volunteer delivered service - the Child Advocates service to support young victims of sexual abuse and their families when they attend for Forensic Medical Examination and Treatment; the first such project of its kind in Ireland. CARI, with the Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Treatment Service (CASATS) has set up a new service in Galway, which is currently the only Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in Ireland (SATU) to provide 24-hour services for young people under the age of 14 years who have been harmed by sexual abuse, either recently or historically.

The first six months tell us that:

  • 58% of children attending CASATS are pre-schoolers and younger with an average time in the unit of just under 3 hours
  • Up to 4 children availing of CASATS service every month in Galway with just under 60% of the adults supporting them wanting immediate support from CARI caseworker
  • CARI caseworker supports both families and CARI volunteer accompaniment officers who attend the CASATS forensic unit.
  • CARI hopes to collaborate more with other professional supports while attending the CASATS unit with children.

CASATS Info
CARI Receives a €1,600 Grant from eBay Foundation’s Employee Volunteer-Led GIVE Team
Galway Centre To Train Volunteers To Support Child Victims Of Sexual Violence
Manuela Riedo Foundation Awards CARI / CASATS Additional €12,000 for Galway Child Advocate Project

Court Accompaniment Support Service (CASS) Continues to Grow
Now running into its 10th year, CASS is celebrating its most successful year to date. It is the only service to specifically support children who are giving witness testimony within the Criminal Justice System throughout the State. Our statistical report for 2013 / 2014 shows the significant increase in support that we were able to provide. The figures for children and family members supported reiterates for us that with resource investment into this vital service, our ability to provide both emotional and practical support for children greatly improves.

Therapy Hours Decline
Due to on-going funding issues and staff and structural changes, there was an 18% drop in therapy hours provided between 2012 and 2013. There was a further 13% drop between 2013 and 2014. This gave an overall drop of almost 29%. As a result, we had waiting lists in both Dublin and Limerick. It is unacceptable that children who have been abused can be waiting up to 12 months due to the cutbacks referred to earlier.  Sadly, the already inadequate services to children have declined further; and children have no specialised therapy service.

Other Key Points

  • The justice system continues to fail victims of child sexual abuse
  • Delays in court proceedings impact very severely on children
  • DPP demands release of child therapy notes
  • Joint campaign to protect notes
  • Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2014 offers some hope
  • Child sexual abuse is a preventable public health problem
  • Timely access to therapy critical - children are resilient and do recover if therapy offered
  • Lack of services remain shocking scandal in 2014
  • CARI Helpline: Females under the age of 13 most at risk
  • CARI Helpline concerns around new technologies - misuse of apps & internet

Founded in 1989, CARI (Children at Risk in Ireland) is one of Ireland’s leading voluntary providers of therapy to children, families and groups affected by child sexual abuse.

CARI Lo-Call and Confidential National Helpline 1890 92 45 67 www.cari.ie