Politicians continue to ignore report on sexual violence
Fine Gael is right to demand an independent inquiry into the mishandling of the constitutional crisis over sex-offenders. The scale of the bungling was awesome. But an inquiry into what went on in the offices of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), the chief state solicitor, the Attorney General's office and the offices of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform is not enough. Indeed such an inquiry is tangential to what needs to be done.
Fine Gael is right to demand an independent inquiry into the mishandling of the constitutional crisis over sex-offenders. The scale of the bungling was awesome.
But an inquiry into what went on in the offices of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), the chief state solicitor, the Attorney General's office and the offices of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform is not enough. Indeed such an inquiry is tangential to what needs to be done.
What is needed now is a thorough inquiry into the scale of sex abuse generally here and what measures are appropriate to deal with the phenomenon.
We have argued repeatedly here that the incidence of sex criminality far exceeds any other incidence of criminality and is by far the most serious. That is, however, not how the political establishment views it, nor the mainstream media. There is willful indifference to the findings of an authoritative report on all of this published four years ago.
At the risk of tedious repetition, we again set out the stark facts of the incidence of sexual abuse in Ireland as revealed by a report commissioned by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, and conducted by researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons: 'The SAVI Report: Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland'. The report disclosed an alarming situation on sexual abuse.
• One in five women (20.4 per cent) reported experiencing contact sexual abuse in childhood. In over a quarter of these cases, this involved penetrative sex, either vaginal, anal or oral. In other words one in 20 women have been raped in childhood.
• One in six men reported experiencing contact sexual abuse in childhood, and 2.7 per cent of men experienced penetrative sexual abuse in childhood, ie raped in childhood.
The incidence of sexual crimes against adults is also frightening, as revealed by this report.
The report reveals that a quarter of the abusers of girls are family members, half were non-family but known to the victims and a further quarter were strangers. In the case of boys, only one in seven of the abusers were family members, two thirds were non-family but known to the victims and one in five were strangers. Clerical child sex abusers were a tiny fraction of abusers.
In other words we have a major crisis of abuse affecting hundreds of thousands of children and adults here.
The SAVI report made several recommendations four years ago, some of which were:
• That a comprehensive public awareness campaign on sexual violence be developed, delivered and evaluated.
• That barriers to disclosure of sexual violence be addressed at the level of the general public, professionals and systems.
• That the need for service developments be anticipated and planned on the basis of a comprehensive needs evaluation of evidence for medical, counseling and law enforcement services.
• That a consultative committee on sexual violence be established with the responsibility and authority to ensure that recommendations arising from this SAVI study and similar reports are acted on by relevant agencies within an appropriate time frame.
None of these recommendations have been acted upon over the last four years. This must be acted upon now at a time when public attention is focused on sexual violence. All protestations about abused children being primary in consideration are mere mouthings while this report remains ignored.