25th November 2020 | Justice, Press Releases

Rape-crisis budgets must reflect surge in sexual based violence – Costello

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Green Party Spokesperson for Justice, Patrick Costello TD, has called for an increase in funding for rape-crisis budgets to reflect the surge in demand for rape-crisis services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Deputy Costello was speaking following the publication of the latest report by the Rape Crisis Network, which shows demand for rape-crisis counselling was up by almost a quarter in the first seven months of the pandemic.

Speaking on the matter, Deputy Costello said: “The latest worrying stats from the Rape Crisis Network have brought to light the devastating number of women who are trapped at home with abusers and who no longer view their home as a safe place to be. Domestic and sexual based violence in this country is at pandemic levels and must be treated as such. Unfortunately, I don’t believe we are anywhere near understanding the full extent of the impact the lockdown has had on victims. 

“According to the latest figures, the Rape Crisis Network’s existing level of service does not reflect the exponential surge in demand for supports they have seen in 2020. Their budgets need to increase by at least 30% just to stand still. Frontline agencies offer invaluable services to women targeted by sexual based violence and we need ensure they are provided with the necessary funding to keep going. There is an undeniable need for awareness campaigns identifying sexual based violence, but these can only go so far if frontline supports and infrastructure are not in place.

“I have written to the Minister for Justice asking for an increase in much-needed funding and will work with her and my Green Party colleagues to ensure frontline agencies and victims receive the supports they need. Ultimately, any response to these crimes must always put the victim at the centre. We must listen to the experts when they tell us what supports are needed for victims and survivors,” concluded Deputy Costello.