Over 37% of new clients who presented at the Sexual Violence Centre Cork last year were students. The figures come following the release of the Centre’s 2019 Annual Report today.
Three quarters of all new clients reported that they were 23 years or younger at the time of the sexual assault, and over 60% of new clients were less than 29 years old.
Over the last year, the Sexual Violence Centre Cork has collaborated with UCC and the Students’ Union on campaigns such as the Ask for Angela initiative and the Consent Tea Party held in the President’s Garden last Fresher’s Week.
The week is the official start of term for college students, with activities and events held on campus to initiate the new semester and get involved in student life. Mary Crilly, the CEO of the Sexual Violence Centre Cork, has spoken about “the other side of freshers”: the increase in incidents of sexual assault and harassment seen during nights out.
According to accounts given by clients to the centre, almost 23% of perpetrators were between the ages of 18-23 years and an identical percentage were between the ages of 24-29 years old.
Just one third of clients reported their experience to An Garda Síochána, but over 90% had disclosed it to family, friends, or their GP.
Free of charge, the Centre provides a telephone help/textline, counselling/psychotherapy and art therapy, accompaniment to Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATU) and court, as well as supporting victims in their contact with the justice system.
Over the year, the centre answered 3469 calls and texts, delivered 1714 counselling appointments, supported 197 people through the SATU process and accompanied 20 people to court.
Of their time seeking support from the Centre, clients provided feedback such as the following:
“I feel like a human being again which I never thought was possible before.”
The report highlights both the invaluable work of the centre in the community, and how pervasive the issue of sexual violence remains.
Mary Crilly wrote in the opening pages of the report that “It has been my privilege to work in the Sexual Violence Centre since it opened its doors 37 years ago. It continues to be an honour and a privilege. I continue to experience despair at the level of sexual violence in our country and at the extent of victim blaming.”
“The Centre has been closed to personal callers since March 2020 and I still find it strange to see the purple door closed,” she continued. “We have continued to work behind those doors, moving to provide services over the phone and online. We will continue to be available. We will continue to provide services. We did not go away. We will not go away.”
“I thank each and every victim I have met. Your courage and your bravery give me what it takes to keep on going. I thank every friend and family member who has supported their loved ones who have been victims of sexual violence. It makes a huge difference. Thank you to the caring, wise professionals who work with victims of violence. Thank you to everyone who has supported the work of the Centre, in big ways and little ways. It all counts. It all adds up. Thank you.”
** The Sexual Violence Centre is contactable through text at 087-153-3393, and the freephone number is 1800-496-496 for those in the Cork area. You can also contact the Centre through email at email@example.com or through social media. **