RAPE CRISIS; One in Six Assault Victims Treated in Mental Hospital

Article excerpt

Byline: By MICHAEL DOYLE

ONE in every six rape victims will end up in a mental hospital, according to figures released yes- terday.

And half of sexual violence survivors will be prescribed anti-depressants compared to nine per cent of the rest of the population.

These statistics are contained in the first ever National Rape Crisis Statistics in Ireland, which was launched by Health Minister Mary Harney.

The network urged Mrs Harney to help get more funds for the sector.

Its chief, Fiona Neary, said: "It is likely that survivors who cannot access adequate support will approach other, more costly aspects of the health and social services where the root of the problem usually cannot be addressed anyway.

"When someone contacts a Rape Crisis Centre helpline and cannot get through we cannot assume they sit and wait.

"Without access to immediate and expert care a survivor experiencing flashbacks, panic attacks and other symptoms is likely to make repeated and long-term demands on GPs and mental health services.

"Under-funding means RCCs are not accessible to many survivors.

"The state is not saving money by leaving RCCs to operate on shoe-string budgets. This is a false economy." Launching the new report, Ms Harney said the figures were something "none of us can be proud of".

She added: "I have asked the Health Service Executive to urgently examine the optimum service requirements for victims of rape, in respect of both medical treatment and counselling services, with a view to bringing forward proposals for future service needs. …