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NWC welcomes CSO publication of statistics on sexual violence, condemns high rate of violence

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2023

It is 20 years since we have had accurate data on sexual violence in Ireland, and the figures show 1 in 2 women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime


The National Women’s Council (NWC) strongly welcomes the new national survey by the CSO on sexual violence in Ireland. We are dismayed but not surprised by the figures which show that 1 in 2 women will experience sexual violence during their lifetime and 1 in 5 will experience non-consensual sexual intercourse, which is rape. Such a high incidence of sexual violence has devastating consequences, not just for individual women but for women and society as a whole.  

This data is critical to tackling sexual violence in our society and was long campaigned for by members of NWC. It’s important also that we now have statistics on perpetrators: 4 out of 5 women who experienced sexual violence knew the perpetrator. And it is significant that the CSO recognise that even these figures may represent an under-reporting because of the awful nature of these crimes.  

NWC Director Orla O’Connor said:   

“The impact of sexual violence on women is devastating, traumatic, and has long-term implications. We must remember that behind each of these statistics is a woman whose life may have changed forever because of trauma, or a woman whose life is marred by ongoing violence. We need to know how prevalent sexual violence is, who commits it and how it impacts different groups of women so that we can effectively tackle it and create a safer society for all women and girls.” 

It is 20 years since we have had accurate data on sexual violence, when the SAVI report was published. This CSO survey finally gives us baseline data which is critically needed by Government, State Agencies, civil society organisations, and frontline services in order to properly tackle sexual violence.   

This new data shows what women have always known anecdotally and provides critical evidence on the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland.  
NWC welcomes the long-term commitment to provide this data on an ongoing basis. We must see data on groups of women that are not captured in population-based surveys e.g Traveller women, disabled women, LGBTQ women and women in the sex trade. In addition NWC is calling for the resourcing of qualitative data on who commits sexual violence crimes.   


For comment: Orla O’Connor and Ivanna Youtchak  

For more information, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator, sineadn@nwci.ie  

About NWC   

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters.  

This year we celebrate 50 years since our foundation with a special calendar of events and campaigns.  

The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.   

We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity. Find out more on www.nwci.ie