Young Fine Gael (YFG) will this weekend discuss the lack of Sexual Assault Treatments Units (SATU’s) in Ireland at their eighth annual Summer School in the Brandon Hotel, Tralee, Co. Kerry from July 28 – 30, 2006.
Speaking in advance of the Summer School, YFG President, Elizabeth Munnelly, stated; “Currently there are four SATU’s existing in four HSE regions, Eastern, South Eastern, Southern and North Western. These four centres serve a population of 4,234,925 with all but the unit in Cork in operation without funding from the Department of Health. The lack of funding caused the closure of the Tralee unit in 2004”.
SATU’s carry out forensic examinations on victims of rape/sexual assault. “The lack of provision of adequate numbers of SATU’s and the lack of funding for those in existence, acts as a deterrent to victims in reporting the crime. There can also be up to a 12 hour delay between the time the crime is reported and the victim is seen for a forensic examination.
“In addition there is a 40% acquittal rate for rape cases and figures reveal that the number of rape/ sexual assault cases brought to trial at the Central Criminal Court has fallen from 130 cases in 1999 to 37 in 2004.
YFG are calling for:
· The immediate funding of those SATU’s currently in operation (200,000 Euro per unit)
· The re-opening of the Tralee unit with full Department of Health funding.
· The provision of a SATU in Limerick, Galway, Mullingar and the north eastern region
· The provision of a Forensic Nursing Higher Diploma in conjunction with the current nurse training centres in the country. (This would allow nurses to be trained to carry out forensic examinations).