Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Man's alleged rape leads to funding appeal for sex attack victims

Forensic experts pictured at scene of an alleged rape which happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the junction of Donegall Street and York Street in Belfast City Centre. Northern Ireland- 11th July 2012  Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.
Forensic experts pictured at scene of an alleged rape which happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the junction of Donegall Street and York Street in Belfast City Centre. Northern Ireland- 11th July 2012 Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.
Forensic experts pictured at scene of an alleged rape which happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the junction of Donegall Street and York Street in Belfast City Centre. Northern Ireland- 11th July 2012 Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.
Forensic experts pictured at scene of an alleged rape which happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the junction of Donegall Street and York Street in Belfast City Centre. Northern Ireland- 11th July 2012 Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.
Forensic experts pictured at scene of an alleged rape which happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the junction of Donegall Street and York Street in Belfast City Centre. Northern Ireland- 11th July 2012 Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.

There have been calls for increased funding for the victims of sexual violence following an incident where a man was reportedly raped in Belfast city centre.

Police are investigating the sexual assault of the 23-year-old shortly before 2am yesterday, which happened close to the Belfast campus of the University of Ulster.

The attacker struck in the Donegall Street/York Street area and is described as being 5ft 9 with black hair. He was wearing a blue jumper and blue jeans and was carrying a navy shoulder bag.

Nexus Institute NI, based at University Street, Belfast, offers counselling to those aged 16 and over who are survivors of rape, childhood sexual abuse, sexual violence and institutional abuse.

Regional manager Peter Lockhart said that the scale of the problem cannot be underestimated and called for increased funding to help the work being done by the charity and other groups.

“This is a deplorable attack on a young person,” he said.

“Sexual violence causes ongoing trauma and medical problems as well as creating the element of fear. Thankfully this abuse has been disclosed to the police and hopefully a conviction will arise from it,” he added.

Last year, following three cases of rape in a 24-hour period, the PSNI revealed that it investigates an average of 10 reports of rape every week.

However, the conviction rate for crimes of sexual violence is very low at less than 7%.

Alliance MLA Anna Lo chairs the Assembly all-party group on human trafficking, and has spoken with a number of survivors of sexual violence.

“Proper resources need to be given to survivors.”

Meanwhile police have released photofit images (far right) of two men they are hunting in connection with a male rape last year.

The victim was targeted as he walked along Stroud Street, close to Great Victoria Street, Belfast, during the early hours of February, 18, 2011.

Factfile

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this report, a number of agencies can provide support. They include: Rape Crisis Centre 028 9032 9002; Nexus Institute NI 028 9032 6803; Samaritans 028 9066 4422; and Life-line 080 8808 8000.

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz