There has been a significant increase of sexual assault victims disclosing and seeking help, according to a new report from the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s (DRCC) annual report for 2018, launched by Minister for Health Simon Harris, states it had 13,367 contacts through calling, text messaging, emailing or through social media services.

Some 44% of those who disclosed the type of abuse they suffered said that they had experienced adult sexual assault, while 33% said that they had experienced sexual abuse as a child.

DRCC said that there has been an increased need for their services due to the increased levels of sexual assault and rape, or victims recognising they are not to blame for their assaults and that there are different avenues of help available to them.

In 2018, DRCC had 4,228 individual counselling appointments, with the majority of clients disclosing they had been sexually assaulted or raped within the six months prior to their appointment.

Approximately half of the clients were under the age of 30, with 19% disclosing that the abuse came from a boyfriend or a partner.

The largest perpetrator was another known person in their life, with more than half (51%) of adult sexual assault or rape victims saying that their abuser was a friend or an acquaintance, with just 23% of victims saying their abuser was a stranger.

Minister Harris launched a new online relief programme – Moving Forward from Sexual Violence – for individuals who can not or do not feel comfortable utilising face-to-face support services.

The online programme will provide a telephone assessment and counselling for individuals who do not feel comfortable talking to someone in person.

Ann Marie Gill, chairperson of the DRCC, said: “At this point, half-way through 2019, demand for the DRCC’s services is higher than it has been for many years because more people than ever are disclosing and seeking help.

“The reality is that people need support in greater numbers than ever.”

If you or someone close to you needs support and information, you can contact the DRCC’s national 24-hour hotline at 1800 77 8888.