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Useful Information

  • I have just been raped/sexually assaulted - what should I do?
    Tell someone you know and trust what has happened. Alternatively you can contact the centre and we will provide you with a confidential space, information and time for you to decide how you want to proceed. We respect your right of choose whether you want to report the crime or not. You may wish to take the morning after pill in order to protect against pregnancy, therefore you will need to see a doctor. A medical examination is important to detect injury, and possible protection against STI’s. This is advisable even if you do not wish to report. If you are able and wish to report the assault to the Gardai we will provide you with assistance. The Gardai can arrange for you to visit a doctor or hospital. Remember, the crime has been committed against you and it was not your fault. Only you can decide when the time is right for you to talk to somebody. With the help of accredited professionals specialising in this area counselling can enable people to reclaim their lives–: By opening up and talking about the abuse; By experiencing and expressing their deepest feelings; By challenging beliefs, assumptions and behaviours; and By gradually making sense out of the chaos. The process of recovery from rape and sexual abuse will allow the possibility of a full and healthy life. If you have been affected by sexual violence, you can contact the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre for counselling and support. Our telephone number is free phone 1800 306 600.
  • What is rape and sexual assault?
    Rape is a crime. It is a vicious attack of violence, anger and control. Rape and Sexual assault are unique crimes. They are not just physical assaults - but a violation of Physical, Psychological, Social and Spiritual boundaries. Sexual assault has nothing to do with sex, it is a violent crime. The initial crime can have a long-term emotional and psychological impact. The person is often left holding feelings of shame, guilt and self-blame. Rape is a crime which is committed predominantly by men mostly against women and girls but also against boys and other men. There can be specific consequences such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV infection and pregnancy. In most cases, the rapist is known to the person. He may be a friend, a workmate, a relative or a partner. Many rapes occur in the person’s own home or that of the perpetrator – therefore the crime is often a huge betrayal of trust as the person is raped where he /she considered to be a safe place. The Legal Definition of Rape There are four categories of sexual offences. Rape: ‘Unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman who, at the time of intercourse, does not consent to it, where the man knows she does not consent… or that he is reckless as to whether she does not consent to it’. Rape Under Section 4: A sexual assault that includes ‘penetration (however slight) of the anus or mouth by a penis, or penetration (however slight) of the vagina by any object held or manipulated by another person’ Aggravated Sexual Assault: A sexual attack that involves serious violence or causes grave injury, humiliation or degradation to the victim. Sexual Assault: A sexual attack with a less serious level of violence
  • How can rape and sexual assault affect you?
    Immediate: Physical trauma, shock, withdrawal, (frozen), panic and confusion; terror; inappropriately calm and rational; irrational behaviour; dwelling on details; recurrent intrusive thoughts; sleeplessness; denial; hypervigilence; or, obsessive washing. Long Term: Mood swings, self-blame/guilt; shame; fear and anxiety; loss of trust (especially with men); sexual difficulties; development of addictions; depression; and, flashbacks. Remember, the crime has been committed against you and it was not your fault
  • What is child sexual abuse?
    Child sexual abuse is the involvement of a child in sexual activities for the sexual gratification of an adult or someone significantly older or bigger than the child. It is called incest if it happens between family members. Child sexual abuse should not be confused with normal healthy physical contact. Responsible adults exchange physical contact with a child in a loving manner while maintaining a warm and affectionate relationship. Both men and women sexually abuse children but the majority of known perpetrators are men. Perpetrators of abuse appear to be trustworthy people coming from all backgrounds, and are often respected members of society. In the majority of cases, the offender is someone who is known to the child, e.g. parents, relatives, neighbours, friends etc. Sexual abuse can be physical, verbal or emotional and can include the following: Exposing a child or teenagers to adult sexual activity or pornographic movies or photographs; Getting a child or teenager to pose, undress or perform in a sexual fashion; Fondling a child or teenager's genitals or making them fondle the offender’s; or Actual or attempted penetration of the child or teenager's vagina, mouth or anus, with an object or with the offender’s fingers or penis. If you have experienced sexual abuse as a child, help is available - contact us today.
  • How can child sexual abuse affect you?
    The effects of sexual abuse can vary greatly from one case to the next and can include a loss of trust, poor self-esteem, a sense of betrayal and confusion in relation to sexuality. Children often blame themselves for what has happened to them. Because of the level of trust the children have in the adult, it is easy for them to be tricked into sexual activity. Perpetrators know this and take advantage of the vulnerabilities in children. Children may or may not feel what is happening is wrong and are often tricked or coerced into secrecy by the offender. Sometimes the effects of abuse can remain with the person for the rest of their lives. They may live with low self-esteem – often with a disgust about themselves and what has happened. They may find it extremely hard to trust enough to form a loving relationship. Some people who have been abused can hide it very well from the outside world. They may appear to be living a normal, contented life. In reality, people may live with the impact of abuse for years trying to make sense of what has happened. If you suspect or know of a child who is being sexually abused, contact the Director of Community Care in your HSE area. A social worker will evaluate the situation and take appropriate action. Secrecy perpetuates abuse. People who have been sexually abused may not talk about what has happened for years and some people may never talk about it. This can leave the person trapped in a place of fear and shame. It protects the abuser and allows them to continue what they are doing. If you have been affected by sexual violence, you can contact the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre for counselling and support. Our telephone number is Freephone 1800 306 600.
  • What is incest?
    Incest is sexual intercourse or other sexual acts such as fondling, molestation, exhibitionism and sexual abuse, either physical or emotional, when it occurs between family members. It can affect both males and females and more than one member of the family can be abused. It is not, and should not be confused with, the normal physical affectionate contact which is essential in a loving family relationship. Sexual abuse happens in families of every social and economic background and the perpetrators of the abuse are often in other ways normal, upstanding members of society. Though women do offend, the majority of known perpetrators are men. The abusers can be parents, grandparents, step-parents, uncles and brothers etc. They are all people with whom the person would have a trusting relationship. Children are particularly trusting making it easy for them to be tricked into sexual activity. Perpetrators know this and take advantage of these vulnerabilities. Children may or may not feel that what is happening to them is wrong, but are often tricked or convinced into secrecy by the offender. Children don’t tell for various reasons - fear, threats that they or someone else they love will be harmed if they tell, fear of not being believed or fear of getting a perpetrator whom they love into trouble. Sometimes the only ‘loving’ contact the child has is the abusive contact and they may not want to lose this. Sometimes the young child does not realise that what is occurring is wrong until later on in life. The person affected by an incestuous relationship is often afraid to tell because of the disruption and stigma the revelation may cause to the family unit e.g. Daddy may have to live somewhere else or the children may be taken into care. Incest can become the family secret. Incestuous behaviour can carry on from one generation to the next e.g. father abuses daughter and then goes on to abuse granddaughter. Sometimes the entire family may need counselling in order to break the cycle. Fear perpetuates secrecy, secrecy perpetuates abuse. Effects Loss of trust – it can be difficult for victims who have been abused to trust enough to form close relationships. They may have low self-esteem and may have difficulty with schoolwork or job performance. Alternatively, they can become super achievers. They can become obsessive about being the best – top of the class, top achiever in the workplace etc. They can be hypervigilent – like a frightened deer watching out for predators. They may bury the memory of the abuse which may then surface years later possibly at some emotional time in their lives e.g. following marriage, the birth of a baby, or even coverage of sexual abuse on a T.V programme or in a newspaper. They may suffer from flashbacks in which memories of the abuse can surface suddenly, often triggered by a smell or sensation. Flashbacks can be very frightening, but they can be a sign that the trauma is coming to the surface, and hopefully some healing can occur. This is a time when professional support can be valuable. People who are survivors of sexual abuse are indeed people with a lot of courage, strength and bravery whether they realise it or not. It takes courage to confront what has happened to you and a lot of support is needed while you are doing this. With the help of counselling, people can talk about the abuse and, by experiencing and expressing their deepest feelings, can gradually make sense of the chaos, so that hopefully they can learn to trust and let go of the past so that they may have a full and healthy life. It is important to understand that only the person themselves can decide if and when they are ready to talk about their abuse. If you have been affected by sexual violence, you can contact the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre for counselling and support. Our telephone number is free phone 1800 306 600.
  • What is sexual harassment?
    Sexual Harassment is defined in the 1998 Employment Acts as ‘Unwanted physical intimacy, requests for sexual favours, any other act including spoken words, gestures or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or material if the act, request or conduct is unwelcome, and could be reasonably regarded as sexual, otherwise on gender ground, offensive, humiliating or intimidating’. [Section 23.3] In other words, it is behaviour that is unwelcome and is offensive and can have the effect of embarrassing, frightening or hurting someone. It can range from jokes or remarks with sexual overtones, the display of explicit images, requests for sexual favours for job advancement, unwelcome physical contact to actual sexual assault. It can be ongoing and can seriously affect a person’s ability to perform their work with dignity. Common Excuses The girl who worked here before never minded; It was just a bit of harmless fun; She/he was asking for it; She/he is too sensitive; and/or It was a joke. It is no joke to anyone who is on the receiving end of sexual harassment. Who is affected by harassment? Men and women working in all kinds of jobs can be affected by sexual harassment. It is not confined to any special areas of employment, but can happen anywhere and at any level of employment. In many cases it is the dominance of the more powerful over those seemingly weaker, either professionally or economically. It should be remembered that incidents occurring outside the workplace e.g. at office parties or in the car park etc, may also constitute sexual harassment. It can also consist of one serious incident but it is mostly on-going. The Effects of Sexual Harassment Many people find it difficult to report, often feeling that they are in a powerless position, that they may lose their job or not get a promotion; They fear that they may not be believed or understood; They can suffer from stress related illness, panic attacks, sleep disturbances and poor work performance; and It can make the person’s life a misery.
  • I am experiencing sexual harassment - what should I do?
    Tell the harasser that their behaviour is unwelcome and ask them to stop. Keep a diary of the incidents. Report the matter to your employer or someone in authority. According to the Employment Equality Act 1998, employers may be liable for the sexual harassment of the employee by another employee, or by a business contact, client or a customer. Get advice from the Equality Authority. If having reported harassment to the employer, the person is still unhappy with the outcome, or if the employer is the person responsible for the harassment and there are no other procedures they can use, legal action can be taken; and If you need counselling or support in dealing with this issue you can contact the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre. An employee should be free to carry out his/her work with dignity and respect.
  • Reaction to rape and sexual violence
    Every person who experiences rape or sexual violence will react in a different way, which will vary according to your background and past experiences. There is no right or wrong way to feel and no set time for when you should be feeling better so do not worry. We are here to help you recover and feel better so get in touch with us to find out more.
  • What is counselling?
    Counselling is a one-to-one relationship which provides the necessary support and encouragement to enable a person to talk about the experiences which have affected their lives. It is the role of the counsellor to offer a safe and confidential space to enable the person to express themselves whatever way necessary for them to move on in their lives. I f you have been affected by sexual violence, you can contact the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre for counselling and support. Our telephone number is free phone 1800 306 600.
  • Why do I need counselling?
    Everybody experiences difficulties in their lives. Some experiences can be too hard to deal with on your own. You may benefit from counselling if you find that you can’t talk to family or friends, or there is a limit to the help they can give. Our counsellors are trained to provide the confidential support necessary to help you heal from the hurt of rape and sexual abuse. Counselling helps by providing a person the time and space, not always available in other parts of their lives, to explore their feelings in relation to their trauma. It can be an enormous relief for someone to be able to talk, perhaps for the first time, about what happened and the effect is has had. It can be helpful over time, and without pressure or expectation to be able to open up to and express painful memories and feelings that may have been bottled up for a long time. If you have been affected by sexual violence, you can contact the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre for counselling and support. Our telephone number is free phone 1800 306 600.
  • How long will I need counselling?
    The length of time counselling takes varies from person to person. The pace of healing and each person’s experience is unique, so the duration of their counselling cannot be predicted. It can vary from a few weeks up to a few years but the majority of people feel some benefits after the first few sessions. It is always the choice of the individual whether or not they wish to continue with the counselling process. There will always be time to discuss this with their counsellor. A counselling session lasts for one hour and we offer counselling on a weekly basis. If you have been affected by sexual violence, you can contact the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre for counselling and support. Our telephone number is free phone 1800 306 600.
  • Are the counsellors trained?
    All counselling is provided by professionally accredited and experienced therapists in line with best practice and HSE requirements. Clients of the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre will always see the same counsellor and will be able to develop a trusting relationship with that person. If you have been affected by sexual violence, you can contact the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre for counselling and support. Our telephone number is free phone 1800 306 600.
  • How much do I have to pay?
    The Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre provides a professional counselling service, which is free of charge, to both males and females who have experience rape, sexual abuse or any other form of sexual violence. If you have been affected by sexual violence, you can contact the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre for counselling and support. Our telephone number is free phone 1800 306 600.
  • Sexual Violence Myths
    Myth: Rape is sex Reality: Rape is not sex. Sex involves the mutual consent and enjoyment of both partners. Rape is about violence, power and control over another person. It violates the body of that person. Myth: ‘She said ‘no’, but she didn’t really mean it’. Reality: When someone says ‘no’ at any stage and the act continues, it is rape. Myth: People who are raped often ask to be raped by the way they are acting or the way that they are dressed. Reality: Nobody asks to be raped no matter how they are dressed or how they are acting. There is never any justification for sexual violence Myth: Most sexual assaults are committed by strangers. Reality: The majority of people who are sexually assaulted are attacked by someone they know. Myth: She didn’t struggle so she was not raped. Reality: Most women are too afraid to struggle because of the fear of violence, verbal abuse. Some victims can ‘freeze’ leaving them unable to struggle or call for help. Myth: If a man spends a lot of money on you, he has the right to have sex with you. Reality: No matter how much a man spends on you, it does not give him any rights to your body. Myth: If the attacker is drunk at the time of the assault then they cannot be accused of rape. Reality: The attacker is responsible for their actions no matter how intoxicated they were. Being drunk is not an excuse for forcing sex on someone against their will. Myth: There is no such thing as marital rape Reality: There is a belief that women cannot be raped by their husband. This is untrue and based upon the belief that women are the property of their husbands. Since 1991, marital rape has been acknowledged as a crime and a married woman can charge her husband with a sexual offence.
  • What can men do to help?
    Sexual violence is an issue for both men and women. Men are not immune from sexual violence and often respond, as do many women, by remaining silent and suffering alone. Most sexual assaults are committed by men. Both male and females suffer the trauma of being raped or sexually abused. This can be physical, emotional and psychological, and can take years to heal. Men can help by raising awareness about their feelings on sexual violence, and by challenging rape supporting attitudes.Rape is a violent act used to humiliate and control. When we remain silent about a wrong it can signify (rightly or wrongly) that we give it our approval. Men can play a vital role in making society a safer place by letting their voices be heard in their disapproval of sexual violence. Men can make it personal – it could be your own mother, sister, friend, wife, son or daughter that could be raped or abused. It could be you. Can you imagine the impact this would have on your life and other family members’ lives. What men can do Speak up – when someone in your company tells a joke about rape, let them know that you do not find it funny; When you read an article that blames a victim for a sexual assault, write a letter to the editor; Talk with women about how the fear of a sexual assault can affect their lives; Be aware that a man’s physical strength can be intimidating to a woman; Do not ever force or coerce someone to have sex with you; Do not assume that your partner’s desire for affection is a desire for sex. Both of you may not want the same degree of intimacy; Stay in touch with your sexual desires. Are you honestly hearing your partner’s desires or just your own? Talk to your partner about your feelings; Remember, when a woman says ‘no’ at any stage and a man continues it is rape. Being drunk is no defence. We must take responsibility for our actions at all times. We must take responsibility for our actions at all times. If someone you know tells you they have been sexually abused, listen to them and support them in whatever course of action they wish to take. Rape and sexual abuse are issues for both women and men. Our bodies are precious and do not deserve to be violated in any way. If you have been affected by sexual violence, you can contact the Athlone (Midland) Rape Crisis Centre for counselling and support. Our telephone number is free phone 1800 306 600
  • Other Rape Crisis Centres in Ireland
    Cork Sexual Violence Centre 5 Camden Place, Cork Helpline: 1800 496 496 Business: 021 4505577 Web: Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm Donegal Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre 2A Grand Central Canal Road, Letterkenny, Co Donegal Helpline: 1800 448 844 Business: 074 9128211 Opening hours: Monday 9am – 5.30pm Tuesday to Thursday 9am – 4pm Friday 9am – 3.30pm Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 70 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 Helpline: 1800 778 888 Business: 01 661 4911 Web: Opening hours: 24 hour crisis helpline, 7 days per week, 365 days per year Rape Crisis North East PO Box 72, Dundalk, Co Louth Helpline: 1800 212 122 Business: 042 933 9491 Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm Galway Rape Crisis Centre 7 Claddagh Quay, Galway Helpline: 1800 355 355 Business: 042 933 9491 Web: Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre Greenview Terrace, Princes Quay, Tralee, Co Kerry Helpline: 1800 633 333 Business: 066 712 3122 Web: Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 5 pm Kilkenny Rape Crisis and Counselling Centre 1 Golf View Terrace, Kilkenny Helpline: 1800 478 478 Business: 056 775 1555 Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm South Leinster Rape Crisis and Counselling Centre 72 Tullow Street, Carlow Helpline: 1800 727 737 Business: 05991 33344 Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5pm Rape Crisis Midwest Phoenix House, Punch’s Cross, Rosbrien Road, Limerick Helpline: 1800 311 511 Business: 061 311 511 Web: Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am – 5pm Mayo Rape Crisis Centre Newtown, Castlebar, Co Mayo Helpline: 1800 234 900 Business: 094 902 5657 Web: Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 9am – 5pm Friday 9am – 1pm Sligo Rape Crisis Centre 42 Castle Street, Sligo Helpline: 1800 750 780 Business: 07191 71188 Tipperary Rape Crisis Centre 20 Mary Street, Clonmel, Co Tipperary Helpline: 1800 340 340 Business: 052 27676 Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm Tullamore Regional Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre 4 Harbour View, Store Street, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Freephone: 1800 32 32 32 Email: Web: Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am - 5.00pm ​ Waterford Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre 2a Waterside, Waterford Helpline: 1800 296 296 Business: 051 873362 Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm
  • How do I report rape or sexual assault?
    If you decide to report, it is important to report the assault at the earliest opportunity so that physical and documentary evidence can be collected. The Gardaí can be contacted day or night by phoning the emergency number 999 or 112. Alternatively, contact can be made by phone or in person to the local Garda Station. If you prefer to be interviewed by a female Garda, the Gardaí will facilitate this request. The Gardaí will interview you at the Garda station or at an agreed location, such as your own home, if requested. The Garda Station nearest to where the assault occurred has the responsibility to investigate the case. So, for example, if you are living in Athlone but the assault happened in Dublin, then the Dublin Gardaí will investigate the complaint.
  • If I report a rape, who becomes involved?"
    There are a number of agencies involved in cases of reported sexual violence. An Garda Siochana (the guards or police) are the people who investigate rape, sexual assault and past sexual abuse. The Gardaí investigate reports of sexual crimes by gathering evidence. Evidence includes forensic evidence (i.e. samples or items of clothing) and documentary evidence (i.e. statements). The Gardaí must investigate reported crime as quickly as possible. They will then file a report and send it to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (known as the DPP) is an independent body in charge of prosecuting criminal cases in Ireland. The DPP decides whether to charge a person with a criminal offence, what the charges will be and which court the case will be heard in. ​Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATUS) are specialised units, based in a hospitals, where Forensic Medical Examinations (FME) are carried out free of charge. These examinations are performed by trained medical persons. An FME gathers forensic evidence and it is important that it is performed as soon as possible after a sexual attack. After seven days, it is very hard to gather any forensic evidence. This evidence is forwarded by the Gardaí to the Forensic Science laboratory in Dublin. The nearest SATU is in Mullingar Midland Regional Hospital. (Phone: 044 939 4239 or 086 04 09 952 weekdays from 8am to 5pm.Phone: 044 934 0221 after 5pm and weekends, ask for SATU.) ​Support services, like us, provide services to victims of sexual violence, regardless of whether they report to the Gardaí. Rape crisis centres provide a range of services to victims including: information, support, advocacy, liaison with other agencies, accompaniment, counselling and preparation of victim impact reports.
  • I have reported - what happens now?
    Once an assault is reported, the Gardaí in the station nearest to where the assault took place will start an investigation. This involves taking statements from the victim and other relevant persons who may have had contact with the victim around the time of the assault. The investigating Garda is obliged to give you his/her name and contact number. The length of time needed to investigate a crime depends on whether it is a recent or past crime.
  • I think I have been drugged - what should I do?
    Call into your local Garda Station as soon as possible. If the assault took place less than 72 hours before, the Garda in charge of your case will ask for a urine sample to test for any drugs you have ingested against your will (e.g spiked drinks). ​
  • Local Garda Stations
    Garda Athlone 090 6498550 Garda Longford 043 50570 Garda Mullingar 044 9384000 Garda Roscommon 090 6638300 Garda Moate 090 6481106 Garda Ballinasloe 090 9631890
  • Sexual Assault Treatment Units
    Mullingar Hospital – Sexual Assault Treatment Centre Phone: 044 939 4239 or 086 04 09 952 weekdays from 8am to 5pm. Phone: 044 934 0221 after 5pm and weekends, ask for SATU. Rotunda Hospital – Sexual Assault Treatment Centre Phone: 01 817 1736 weekdays from 8am to 5pm. Phone: 01 817 1700 after 5pm and weekends, ask for SATU.
  • Support services/helplines
    Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 1800 778888 Rape Crisis Network Ireland 091 563676 Westmeath Support Service against Domestic Abuse 044 9333868 Longford Women’s Centre 043 41511 Esker House Refuge, Athlone 090 6474122 Samaritans 1850 609090 Samaritans - Athlone 090 6473133 Barnardos - Athlone 090 6476422 One in Four 01 6624070 Women’s Aid 1800 341900 Safe Ireland 090 6479090
  • Safety Information for Mobile Phones
    Always remember to delete text messages you have sent or received – unless they are messages sent by an abuser.Threatening or harassing text messages may be used as evidence - you could screenshot these and save them somewhere safe. You can delete call logs on your phone - just go into your settings and the option will be there. It may be safer to make a call on a trusted friend's phone.
  • Safety Information for Emails
    E-mail may not be the safest way to seek help if you are being monitored. Be sure to regularly change your password and delete incoming and outgoing mail. Some email services automatically save addresses, so be sure to check your address book too. If you receive threatening or harassing emails, it is a good idea to save or screenshot them - they may be helpful evidence to prove a criminal offence has been committed.
  • Safety Information for Online Browsers
    Clear your history or empty your cache files in your browser’s settings by following the below steps. Google Chrome At the top right of your browser, click more. Then click history. On the left, you will see an option to clear browsing data. Decide much history you want to delete. Click clear data. Internet Explorer Select the Tools button, click Safety and then click Delete Browsing History. Decide which data you would like to remove and press delete. Safari Select the Safari Menu and click Clear History and Website data. Use the menu to select what data you want to delete and press delete. Firefox Select the Library button, click History and click Clear Recent History. Decide how much history you want to delete. Click clear data.
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