Mary Crilly, the head of the SVC, explained that “in some of the cases, the attack happened in their own student accommodation where they felt they were quite safe, where they felt they were not going out on the road, not getting a taxi, not walking home”.
Two of the students have paused their studies to return to their homes, while Cork SVC are working with third student to encourage her to continue her studies.
Speaking at a meeting of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee, Crilly noted that Cork SVC tends to see an increase in contact from young women around the start of the academic calendar.
Crilly explained that the student victims have not reported their attacks to the Gardaí, which may be due to misplaced feelings that they were to blame for their own attacks, Crilly said. She noted that one of the women felt she could not tell her family about the rape because alcohol was involved.
Cork SVC are calling for more staff and resources for the Protective Services Unit (PSU) of the Gardaí, as the unit is investigating historic and current complaints of sexual assault, child sex abuse and domestic abuse.
“We need more staff for the Protective Service Unit or else it is a backward step,” Crill said. “A city the size of Cork should have a unit with at least 20 gardaí given they are being asked to investigate historic and current complaints of sexual assault and child sex abuse as well as domestic abuse.”
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin responded that he would like to have more staff for the PSU, especially with an increasing number of sex crimes being reported, while balancing officers on front line policing duties as well. The PSU is expected to soon have a full team comprising two sergeants and 10 detectives.
McPolin stated: “A lot of the new complaints coming into the Protective Service Unit are of a historic nature but it’s encouraging to see that people have the courage and the confidence in us to come forward so we can fully investigate their complaints.”
If you have been affected by the issues raised of this article, support is available from the following services:
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre: 1800 778 888
Cork Sexual Violence Centre: 1800 496 496
Women’s Aid: 1800 341 900
Samaritans: 116 123
TCDSU Welfare Officer: [email protected]