Rapists ‘working in pairs’ to attack victims

Some sex offenders are working in pairs to identify and attack their victims, it was claimed yesterday.

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, head of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said increasing numbers of people were brought for treatment in the sexual assault treatment unit of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin last year, compared to 2006.

And Ms O’Malley-Dunlop believes that hardcore pornography available on the internet is contributing to a growing trend of more brutally violent sexual attacks.

The final figures on sexual assaults are being collated for the centre’s annual report.

However, there are major concerns at the scale of the problem — in December alone, 30 women were brought to the unit by DRCC volunteers.

At the same time, there are worrying patterns developing in the types of sexual assaults being perpetrated, said Ms O’Malley-Dunlop.

“There are perpetrators who are operating together. That is mind-blowing to think that two people would go out with a premeditated plan,” she added.

In one case over Christmas, a woman in Donegal was reportedly raped by two men after she was dragged into a car in a brutal attack.

“The level of violence is much higher. It is one thing that someone should think about it themselves but to plan it with another person is beyond belief,” said Ms O’Malley-Dunlop. In 2001, 158 rapes and sexual assault victims were brought to the Rotunda for treatment while this rose to 315 in 2006.

There is now anecdotal evidence to suggest that hardcore pornography is a factor in the attacks.

“Hardcore pornography is available at the touch of a button — the clients are saying they are being asked to do things which they would never have thought of by partners,” said Ms O’Malley-Dunlop.

Objects

“What happens is a desensitisation goes on when people are looking at these images over time. The person doesn’t see the victim as a person but as an object.”

Figures from the Rape Crisis Network Ireland show that of every 100 rapes which occur, just 33 are reported to gardai. Some 11 of these 33 will reach the courts, about seven of which will result in guilty pleas or verdicts.

The Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland (SAVI) report has stated that 64pc of cases of sex attacks were carried out by people known to the victim.

The centre has urged victims to contact its 24-hour national helpline on 1800 778888.

By Shane Hickey Monday January 07 2008 http://www.independent.ie/national-news/rapists-working-in-pairs-to-attack-victims-1259356.html



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