Just over 60 per cent of sexual assault victims who attended the Galway Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) knew their attacker.
The shocking figure was included in the Women’s and Children’s Directorate annual report, which was released to the Galway Independent last week.
Since opening its doors in August 2009, 64 patients attended the SATU, with the majority coming from Galway and Mayo.
The new statistics also showed that in 78 per cent of cases, the victim was targeted by a single assailant, with a further ten per cent of cases involving multiple assailants.
Almost 94 per cent of patients were female, with the youngest just 14 years of age and the eldest patient aged 75. Thirty-nine of those presenting to the unit had consumed alcohol in the 12 hours prior to the incident.
The report, published by the HSE, also showed a sharp increase in the number of people presenting to the SATU, with 53 of the 63 attendances taking place in 2011. Of these cases, 13 involved perpetrators under the age of 17.
The publication comes just weeks after the Rape Crisis Network Ireland called on the Government to meet its human rights obligations by targeting alcohol consumption and attitudes towards alcohol and sex.
The group highlighted the major role that alcohol continues to play in sexual assault in Ireland and called for strict and independently enforced rules ensuring alcohol marketing does not “support rape facilitative attitudes”, as well as limiting the availability of alcohol through a range of measures in minimum pricing.
“The State needs to set standards for alcohol marketing and to provide funding for broad marketing campaigns that aim to dispel incorrect information about the effect of alcohol, and to challenge rape supportive attitudes, including combating alcohol-involved rape, denial, minimalisation and victim blaming,” said Executive Director Fiona Neary.