Seanad Group Leader, Senator Catherine Ardagh has expressed her concern regarding the rise in number of sexual assaults which have occurred in Dublin South Central over the past year.

The Crumlin based Senator was commenting following this week’s meeting of the Local Policing Forum which heard that the number of sexual assaults in Dublin South Central rose from 13 in 2017 to 19 over the same period of this year.

She said, “For a long time, sexual offences have been under-reported in Ireland. Greater awareness of sexual assault and other related crimes is leading more people to come forward, report the crimes and hopefully gain access to support services.

“Irrespective of this, any evidence of an increase in sexual assaults in our area is deeply worrying.

“Those living in the South Inner City and the surrounding communities should feel safe walking home and going about their daily lives without the fear of any assault.

“As policy makers we need to be vigilant and ensure that all that can be done to detect and prevent such attacks, is being done; increasing sentences is one element of the public response that needs to be further examined.

“Fianna Fáil has proposed to update and expand legislation to effectively deal with sexual offences including stronger criminal penalties. I intend on raising this matter in the Seanad and to seek clarity on the measures in place to deter criminals from carrying out sexual assault,” she concluded.