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Group Says 750,000 Have Not Reported Sex Abuse

Irish Times, Sep 20, 2004 by Patrick Logue

The Government has been called on the act after it was reported up to 750,000 victims of sexual abuse in the Republic have not sought support or reported their experiences.

The abuse-help group One in Four called for the Government to "develop and implement a ntional strategy to respond to sexual violence and its impacts".

Speaking at the publication of the group's annual report for 2003 One in Four Director Mr Colm O'Gorman said: "Some 1.3 million Irish citizens are living with the legacy of sexual violence, and such abuse has major health and social implications that we have so far failed to address comprehensively."

He said 27 per cent of Irish children had an experience of sexual abuse before the age of 17 and 35 per cent of Irish women and men will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.

The group's first annual report found that it carried out 2,140 one-to-one psychotherapy sessions and spent 540 hours carrying out group therapy to 156 women and men. Some 2,366 telephone calls were received seeking information and support, and its website received about 573,000 hits on messageboards.

Ms Breda Allen, chairperson of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said there was
still a stigma attached to those left traumatised by sexual abuse.

"Victims feel that they will be blamed," Ms Allen said.

 "Certainly up until ten years ago there was a huge culture of blame,
especially if it was an attack by a family member.

 "Victims feel that they will be labelled and that is coming from a perception
that the victim is getting from society at large."