Figures released this week reveal that there was a huge increase in the number of people reaching out to six rape crisis centres across Ireland during the current global pandemic.
According to the report from the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, there was a 98 per cent increase in the number of people seeking counselling and support between March 1 and June 30.
In that time period, 4,413 contacts were made with Rape Crisis centres, this was a 23 per cent increase in contacts made to helplines in the same period in 2019. The communications included texts, emails, phone calls, letters and other methods on social media.
When the pandemic started in March the greatest increase in communications to helplines occurred with 63 per cent more contact being made than in March of 2019. April saw a 33 per cent increase on the same period from last year and May saw a 6% increase.
The numbers did, however, fall in June with 14 per cent less contact being made to the helplines than in June 2019.
However, notably, people spent 83 per cent more time on the line on calls to the Rape Crisis Centre helplines.
The report also revealed that in the four-month period in 2019, 647 survivors contacted helplines for support and counselling whereas in 2020 1284 survivors reached out, subsequently highlighting a 98 per cent increase in contact.
RCNI’s Data and Privacy Coordinator Elaine Mears said, “Where previously helpline contacts may have been just a few minutes, now they were lasting over 30 minutes, with calls up to an hour and a half increasing five-fold when compared to the same period last year.”
During the pandemic Boots also launched a ‘Safe Space’ initiative for women experiencing domestic violence.
You can read the full report here.
If you have been affected by the issues in this article you can contact the National 24-Hour Freephone Rape Crisis Helpline on 1800 77 88 88.
Alternatively, visit this website to find your local crisis centre.