3,231 sexual offences were reported to Gardai in the 12 months leading up to March, new CSO statistics show.
That's up 10% on the previous year.
However, the past 5 years, the number of reported sexual offences has risen by almost 55% going from 2,086 in 2015, to 3,231 in these CSO figures.
Five of the 6 Garda regions saw increases in the number of sexual offences reported to them, with the South Eastern Region the only exception.
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In the 12 months to March Gardai were made aware of 800 rapes, 123 more than the year before.
Noeline Blackwell, of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre says their services are being pushed to the brink:
"We are seeing much more demand for our services, a demand with which we are having trouble coping with, because there's such an increased pressure."
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan admits there remains a grave concern at the growing numbers.
He says by the end of the year Divisional Protective Service Units will be established in every Garda Division.
#AskConsent What Causes Rape = Rapists. There are no grey areas. Sex without consent is rape. It's time to stop the #VictimBlaming & put the focus back where it belongs on the perpetrators. RCC - 1800 77 8888. pic.twitter.com/9JRTsCjDuP
— Dublin Rape Crisis (@DublinRCC) June 21, 2019
DPSU's are tasked with improving how sexual offences are ivestigated.
Noeline Blackwell says they're urgently needed nationwide:
"That's essential, because very often the first person that a victim will meet is a Garda".
"If that Garda doesn't know how to deal properly with investigating or taking a report of this type of crime, the person may be deterred from reporting altogether and it may never come to light"
The Justice Minister admits he's gravely concerned by the growing numbers, but is urging victims to continue coming forward to Gardai.