Northern Ireland

County Donegal rapes 'double' in past year

Rapes and sexual assaults have almost doubled in County Donegal over the past year.

The latest figures from the Gardai and Central Statistics Office show that 96 incidents were recorded in 2010, compared to 51 the year before.

In the third quarter of last year alone 42 were reported.

The Manager of the Donegal Rape Crisis and Sexual Violence Unit in Letterkenny, Ms Sara Donovan, described the figures as "alarming".

She said the unit had seen a 60% increase in demand by people using its services in the past year.

"We're certainly very concerned by the rise because our resources are stretched," she said.

"We have three part time counsellors, a part time manager and an administration staff member.

"In addition, there are trained volunteers who work on a voluntary basis."

Ms Donovan added that the figures also showed "a growing confidence" to come forward and report sexual assaults and rapes.

"However, there is a percentage of women who don't report such cases and I'd appeal to them to come forward if they are the victim of an attack," she said.