Frequently Asked Questions

We are here to help. Click on a question to view further information.

I have just been raped, what should I do?
CRCC recommend you attend the sexual assault treatment unit (SATU) which you can access via your local Garda station, or via the Accident and Emergency Department at your local Hospitals.

Sexual Assault Treatment Units are specially designated units that provide all necessary care in the aftermath of a rape or sexual assault in a multi-agency integrated approach. Most importantly, the SATU units provide medical care such as screening for and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and/or any injuries which can occur as a result of sexual assaults and rape. The SATU unit will also make the morning after pill (MAP) available to clients in the aftermath of rape and treat any other injuries such as bruising or cuts.

Further services at the SATU include forensic medical examinations carried out by a specially trained medical doctor. Evidence from the examination can assist in the investigation and /or prosecution of a case of sexual assault.

Gardaí will be present at the SATU and will take a preliminary statement from clients. However, you will be given some time and space after the ordeal to decide whether or not they want to go ahead with the legal process.
What is Child Sexual Abuse?
Child Sexual Abuse occurs when an adult or older child uses his or her power and / or authority to force or persuade a child to take part in sexual activities. Sexual Abuse may range from inapproapriate sexual comments, fondling or petting, to full vaginal, oral or anal intercourse.

There are adults everywhere who have been sexually abused as children or teenagers, sadly often by family members or close family friends. Many keep silent about what has happened to them, as children they may have felt too afraid to tell. They may have been threatened or blamed by the abuser and as an adult often feel too ashamed to tell anyone what happened to them.
What are the effects of Child Sexual Abuse?
The pain of being sexually abused as a child can be carried into adulthood in many different ways. It can affect self-esteem, self-confidence, and the ability to trust others, often the survivor does not feel that they deseerve to be loved and happy.

The result of these and other effects can lead to the survivor entering abusive relationships or becoming dependent on substances such as alcohol or drugs, to suffering from nightmares, flashbacks, or self-hatred.
What are the Immediate Effects of Rape and Sexual Assault?
These can range from numbness and disbelief to extreme anxiety, fear and disorientation. Rape violates self-respect, causes humiliation, embarrassment and shame.

It is often very difficult to talk about it to someone. Sexual violence is a serious and traumatic event.

We are here to help.
What are the Long Term Effects of Rape and Sexual Assault?
Self blame, guilt, fear, anger, deep emotional pain, difficulty in trusting others, shame, self-destructive behaviour, suicidal feelings, eating disorders, sexual difficulties, impaired concentration or memory and difficulty in coping with normal routines.
After a recent assault or rape it is vital to have a medical check up to screen for any possible sexual transmitted infections including HIV.
You may wish to take the morning after pill (MAP) to exclude a possible pregnancy after rape.

There may be bruising, and/or other injuries external or internal that will need immediate medical attention.

Your local SATU unit (Sexual Assault Treatment Unit) will provide all of the care needed.
What Happens if I Report to the Gardaí?
If you have experienced a recent assault or rape, CRCC advise to attend your local G.P. or Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) which you can access via any Garda station.

This unit provides integrated services looking after medical needs, as well as the gathering of forensic evidence, and the taking of a statement.

It will be up to you at a later stage to decide whether or not you wish to go ahead with the statement, but the recommendation is to make it anyway at first, and to collect forensic evidence, in case you do want to go ahead later.

- If you are reporting a recent assault, do not shower or -wash, but contact the Gardaí immediately and ask to be taken to the SATU unit. Take a change of clothing including coat and shoes as the Gardaí may keep the clothes you were wearing to gather forensic evidence. You can shower and change at the unit.

- Do not take any alcohol or drugs, but if you have done so before the recent assault this should not prevent you from reporting.

- If reporting an assault/rape - report as soon as possible. There is no time limit, but valuable forensic evidence is lost quite quickly.

- After the initial stage of proceedings at the SATU Unit as well as in relation to any other cases of sexual violence or abuse other than those very recent:

If you do decide to approach the Gardaí, we can arrange this for you, and can facilitate the statement being taken in a centre if that feels safer than going to the Garda station.

- Bring someone you feel comfortable with. You are entitled to have them stay with you if you want. However if they are present during the taking of your statement their details need to be included and they may be called as a witness, for this reason the Gardaí may ask that you not be accompanied during the actual taking of the statement. If however you want the person present you do have the right to insist on it.

- Make a note of the names of any Gardaí or detectives you have significant contact with from the time you first report.

- You have the right to speak to a female Garda.

- If reporting an incident of child sexual abuse, or of sexual assault/rape that happened some time ago, it is of advantage to have as many witnesses as possible who can testify to strengthen your case.

- The Gardai will ask you questions but they should only be relevant to your case.

- You will be asked to make a written statement; this means a detailed description of the events before, during and after the attack. Make sure you read your statement carefully and change it if necessary, before you sign it. You are entitled to, and should request, a typed copy. If you remember other details at a later stage, you can make a supplementary statement.

- If the alleged perpetrator is identifiable the Gardaí may interview the person soon after you make your statement.

- If the identity of the perpetrator is unknown to you and the Gardaí arrest a suspect you may be asked to look at photographs or attend an identity parade, or go with the Gardaí to try to identify the person who assaulted you.

- If you feel you are not being treated well by the Gardaí at any stage of proceedings, you can insist on seeing the duty officer or you can make a formal complaint
What Should I Know About the Legal Process?
- When the Gardaí have completed the investigation, they will prepare a file (containing all the evidence gathered and a recommendation as to whether to prosecute) which will be sent to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions).

- The DPP's office will decide whether there is enough evidence to take the case to court. Try to remember this decision is not based on whether they believe you or not, it is whether they believe the case can be proven 'beyond reasonable doubt'. You have a right of appeal against a decision not to prosecute and if you so request a different lawyer will review the decision in the case. You have no right however to know reasons for the decision taken.

- If your case goes ahead a decision will be taken as to what the charge will be and which court it will be held in (district, circuit, or central criminal).

- The Gardaí have a duty to keep you informed of the progress of your case. If a prosecution takes place it may be many months before it comes to court.

- If the assailant pleads 'not guilty' you may be required to appear in court as a witness for the State. Your identity will be protected during and after the case unless you specifically decide to go public. The defendant's identity will not be protected, unless that by revealing their identity the identity of the victim becomes apparent (e.g. A case of incest). When the matter comes before the court such cases are heard "otherwise than in public" meaning that only persons directly concerned with the case will be in the court room.

- You are entitled to advice from your own lawyer and indeed representation by your own barrister (in limited circumstances), see the Legal Aid Board Leaflet No.14 "Civil Legal Aid for Complainants in Rape and Certain Sexual Assault Cases".

- You are entitled to, and indeed it is advisable to, meet the prosecution team before the trial.

- You are entitled to have present in the court with you your supporters or counsellor (subject to the permission of the Judge).

- If the perpetrator is found guilty you will be entitled to submit a victim impact statement and or speak in person as to the effect on you of this offence before sentencing. Rape Crisis Centres prepare such Victim Impact Reports or VIR's for their clients.

- You are entitled to be kept informed of any pending release from custody of the perpetrator who offended against you.

- You may have a civil case against the perpetrator and it is important to seek early legal advice about this as there are time limits within which such a case can be brought.
What Can I Expect from the Rape Crisis Centre?
An experience of sexual violence can be intensely isolating. You will find care and support in your Rape Crisis Centre where staff and volunteers can help you in different ways depending on your needs.

If the assault has only just happened, the Rape Crisis Centre will help you get any medical care you need and support you in making your decision regarding reporting the assault to the Gardaí.

If you are being sexually assaulted by a partner or someone you know, the Rape Crisis Centre can support and counsel you.

Regardless of how long it has been since the abuse happened, the Rape Crisis Centre can help you with emotional support and counselling. By telling someone what happened, being allowed to speak about it and being believed will stop you feeling alone and help you to look at how the assault has affected you.
What Can I Expect from Counselling?
Counselling gives you the time and space to explore your feelings. Our aim in counselling is to help you reach your full potential, so that your experience of sexual violence no longer controls or overwhelms your life, behaviour and choices.

The counsellor is a professional so that you do not need to protect him or her from the intensity of your feelings or the details of your trauma, as you may feel you need to do with family members or friends that you confide in.

You can see a counsellor in the Rape Crisis Center even if you do not report to the Gardai or go for a medical examination. It does not matter how long ago the assault happened.
How Long Will I be in Counselling?
The pace of healing is very individual. It is affected by such things as the duration and intensity of the sexual violence, your relationship to the person who assaulted you, previous traumatic experiences and the degree of support you have outside of the counselling setting. You may be with us for 6 sessions or 60. People often begin with weekly sessions and then spread out the time between sessions as they become better able to manage on their own.
Will I See the Same Counsellor all the Time?
Yes. The first time you come to the Rape Crisis Centre, a counsellor will explain how we work. After the introductory session, the counsellor assigned to you will contact you and work with you for as long as you need.
Will Counselling Help Me Forget?
What counselling hopes to achieve is that the event becomes something which no longer takes over or controls your day-to-day life. Forgetting sexual violence is not a realistic or even desirable goal of counselling. You may find that, in the course of counselling, you begin to develop positive aspects of yourself that have lain hidden or under-developed.

Counselling will help you to understand that what you are experiencing is a normal reaction to an abnormal event. This does not in any way minimise the range and intensity of your feelings but reaffirms your normality in the context of what has happened to you.
Powered by DEITG I.T Generalists