50% OF ABUSED CHILDREN ATTACKED AT HOME; Shock Report Reveals Victims Unlikely to Report Sex Crimes

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Byline: EOIN REYNOLDS

CHILDREN are more likely to be abused in the home than anywhere else, new figures have confirmed.

The Rape Crisis Network Ireland's annual report reveals a shocking underbelly of violent sexual abuse in Ireland.

In all, 1,840 men, women and children attended counselling with the RCNI last year. But victims are unlikely to report the abuse to the authorities, leaving sick predators free to strike again.

Those working with victims yesterday called on the Government to provide better support. And they want a referendum on children's rights to set in stone protections for the most vulnerable people in society.

The home is the most likely place for a child to suffer a sexual assault. Just over 50% of children who attended the RCNI said a family member was responsible and almost half said they had been raped.

The figures show that carers should be less concerned about stranger danger, with just 3% of children attacked by someone they had never met before.

But there are concerns that attackers are getting away with it as just one-in-five adults and children who suffered a sexual assault reported it to gardai last year.

Broadcaster Vincent Browne launched the report yesterday at a conference in Dublin.

Fiona Neary of the Rape Crisis Network said the number seeking help is growing. She added: "The data shows that, for those who experienced sexual violence as adults, the abusers were overwhelmingly known to the victims.

"For a quarter of women and men sexually assaulted as adults the abuser was a partner or ex-partner. This year over 8% more children, teenagers, women and men sought counselling at Rape Crisis Centres across the country. …