Young people & sexual violence: Government failing to prevent rape & sexual violence

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs; Fiona Neary, Executive Director, Rape Crisis Network Ireland; Dr Antonia Abbey, Professor and Chair of the Cognitive, Developmental and Social Psychology Area at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; Dr Pádraig McNeela, Acting Head of the School of Psychology, NUI, Galway and author of the research; and Dr Clíona Saidléar, Policy and Communications Director, Rape Crisis Network Ireland
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs; Fiona Neary, Executive Director, Rape Crisis Network Ireland; Dr Antonia Abbey, Professor and Chair of the Cognitive, Developmental and Social Psychology Area at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; Dr Pádraig McNeela, Acting Head of the School of Psychology, NUI, Galway and author of the research; and Dr Clíona Saidléar, Policy and Communications Director, Rape Crisis Network Ireland

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald this morning (28 January) launches new Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) research on Young People, Alcohol and Sex, undertaken by Pádraig MacNeela and his research team in NUI Galway.

Fiona Neary, RCNI Executive Director said, ‘this report tells us that without Government action rapes that can be prevented will continue to occur.  The findings are so shocking that the government must immediately take action to prevent further sexual violence. Therefore  RCNI today also launches ‘The Older Child and Sexual Violence: Questions and Challenges in delivering a national response,’ which is a pathway for our government to address the serious gaps and failings in the protection of older children from sexual violence.

This research is relentless in demonstrating young people’s inability to talk about sex, never mind negotiate consent. The young people who took part in this research told us they were wholly unprepared for the task of negotiating sexual consent and thus were at risk of sexual violence. Naming crimes of rape and sexual violence remains very difficult for young people, other than in a far too narrow, uninformed manner. Growing up in a binge drinking culture for young Irish people means that reporting crimes and concerns to the appropriate authorities is rarely seen as an option – leaving young sex offenders free to reoffend causing trauma and lifelong harm to others.

Decreasing sexual violence is possible and our strategy document shows the way. This will only happen however with sustained resources and actions, in combination across Government agencies. There is little evidence of this at present in relation to the older child.

At today’s seminar Dr. Pádraig MacNeela’s will present the stark findings of his research. We are delighted to have with us one of the most published authors on the area of sexual violence and alcohol Dr. Antonia Abbey, from Wayne State University, Michigan, to further guide us in international evidence and best practice. After which Rape Crisis Network brings to you our reflections on the policy implications of this and previous research.

The Full Report, Summary of Findings and Recommendations and RCNI Policy Document will be available on www.rcni.ie

Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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