vulnerable | 

More than 100 children brought to Sexual Assault Treatment Units last year

The HSE said that 24 children under the age of 14 were treated in the units while 78 were aged between 14 and 16.

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Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Rape Crisis Network Ireland has said children are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, as it was revealed how more than 100 victims treated in the HSE’s Sexual Assault Treatment Units last year were under the age of 16.

The HSE said that 24 children under the age of 14 were treated in the units while 78 were aged between 14 and 16.

In total, 859 individuals attended the units, an increase of 17pc since 2020.

The vast majority of the victims - 92pc - treated by the units were women.

The average age of the victims was 26 and 43 of the crimes involved multiple attackers.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland Executive Director Cliona Sadlier told Newstalk: “We know how vulnerable children are - particularly as [they] head into puberty,” she told Newstalk. "11, 12 and 13-years-old."

“We know that this age cohort is particularly vulnerable and we know, unfortunately, that a large proportion of the people who are perpetrating these sexual offences against children are themselves children, or people the same age."

Ms Sadlier warned that people must be made aware that alcohol is never an excuse for crime as 42pc of those treated by the units had drunk more than six standard alcoholic units.

“The opportunity for sexual violence, one of the areas is in social settings and of course in Ireland all our social settings almost invariably involve alcohol,” she noted.


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