THERE has been a spike in the number of sexual offences reported in the Cork West Garda Division over the past five years, according to the latest crime figures released by the CSO.
Figures released show a total of 77 sexual offences recorded in the Cork West Garda Division in 2017, an increase of almost 40% on the 2016 figure of 55. However, the figures show that these offences have been steadily increasing since 2013, with 26 recorded offences for that year, with 32 in 2014 and 38 in 2015.
It was a similar story in the Cork North Division, with reports of sexual offences for 2017 at 95, up by 51% on the 2016 figure of 63. While in the Cork City Garda Division, reports of rape and sexual assault almost doubled for 2017, with 219 recorded, up from 110 on the previous year.
Drug offences were also up in the Cork West Garda Division, with 342 controlled drug offences recorded for 2017, compared to 265 for the previous year. The number of reports of drugs for sale or supply also increased from 41 in 2016, to 54 in 2017.
There was, however, good news in the Cork West Garda Division as the figures for burglary were down compared to the other two garda divisions in Cork, which both saw the numbers increase in 2017.
There were 111 reports of burglaries in Cork West for 2017, a decrease of 23 on the figure for 2016.
In response, Chief Supt Con Cadogan of Cork West Garda Division said that the rise in the reporting of sexual offences in his division can also be attributed to historic cases that may be 10 to 20 years old, too.
‘A lot of people can report what happened to them years after it happened, so that’s feeding into the increase in these figures. As an example, we are dealing with three sexual assault reports in the last two weeks and two of those are over 10 years old,’ Chief Supt Cadogan told The Southern Star.
‘All the support agencies like Tusla are also helping those affected, and they are working with us where a level of trust has been earned. Some victims may have been afraid in the past to come forward, but these agencies are out there helping people and it’s about joined-up thinking and education. We are always encouraging members of the public to come forward and report to us if they have been a victim of a sexual offence.’
Chief Supt Cadogan added that the setting-up a Protected Services Unit in West Cork will be of paramount importance for those affected by sexual offences.
‘We have the go-ahead and all we are seeking now is accommodation for this unit.
‘This unit will have professional people investigating sexual crimes and will liaise with support groups across the West Cork division,’ he said.