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Rape Crisis Midwest records major increase in past year

CALLS to Rape Crisis Midwest increased by almost three-quarters last year, new figures show.
Data also reveal that there was a very significant increase in the time spent on helpline calls.
The news comes as Rape Crisis Midwest prepares for a major funding initiative next January in a bid to respond to increased demand.
The total number of calls to the centre increased by 74% during 2020, with 2,119 calls up from 1216 in 2019. One of the other notable statistics was the length of time on calls with an increase of 77% in calls lasting up to 30 minutes.
Verena Tarpey of Rape Crisis Midwest highlighted the vital work and cooperation of the Garda Protective Services Unit, based in Crusheen, in supporting those who experience sexual violence.
“Without a doubt, the work of the Protective Services Unit has transformed the experience for a survivor of a sexual crime, whether recent or in the past,” she said.
“The Gardai working in these units are trained in understanding the dynamic of rape and sexual abuse and their manner of working with Rape Crisis Centres has evolved over the last couple of years.
“If we have questions or concerns, no matter what time of the day, the team in Clare are open to discussing any matters with us here at the centre.
“The unit has allowed us to better respond to the needs of survivors of crime.”
With demand for services at an all-time high, Rape Crisis Midwest relies on fundraising events to bridge the annual deficit. Against that backdrop, the service will run the Step up for Change event in January.
“We are challenging people to walk with us ‘virtually’, raising awareness of the services of Rape Crisis Midwest to both men and women who have been affected by rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment or childhood sexual abuse,” said Sharon Meaney, manager of the Clare Volunteer Centre.
“You can challenge your friends, work colleagues, neighbours or buy a gift for Christmas that really makes a difference.
“We have a new website, idonate.ie/stepupforchange, which will allow you to log your steps, access online resources provided by Tracy Guilfoyle of Heart, Health & Fitness and try out some delicious and healthy recipes shared by Frank Landy, Sweet ‘n’ Green.”
Ahead of the launch, Ms Tarpey explained how people can get involved: “You can purchase a ‘Christmas Box’ for a loved one which will contain all the details to take part, it is beautifully presented and can be ordered online via our website or we will be selling them at the Clarecastle Christmas market on November 19 and 20 and Chapel Lane Market for the month of December.
“Your business or company or local walking/running group can use the event as a team challenge in January, where a group can register, set up a fundraising page, log their kilometres and see who is the fittest.”
Counsellor Breda Larkin explained why it is so important to ensure that everyone has access to the services.
“It takes courage to step up and make that first call and it is our job to ensure that every person is treated with respect, dignity and offered a safe space,” she said.
“Access to these services locally would not be possible without the continued fundraising and efforts of the volunteers based here in Clare.
“When the committee put out a call to our previous ‘Dainty Daisies’ they don’t hesitate in offering support in anyway they can.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support and acknowledge the hard-working committee who are tasked every year with coming up with creative and innovative ideas to continue to raise awareness of Rape Crisis Midwest.”
More information is available on Rapecrisis.ie or 1800 311 511. Fundraising queries can be emailed to fundraising@rapecrisis.ie

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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