The Rape Crisis Network has launched a series of recommendations aimed at improving the investigation of sexual violence.

The group is appealing to all political parties to adopt the recommendations and include them in its programmes for Government.

It says specialised training for gardaí which is appropriate, ongoing and monitored is needed.

Regional specialisation and investigation within the force has also been recommended as well as a dedicated sexual violence officer for each victim.

The officer would remain on the victim's case throughout the criminal justice process.

Fiona Neary of the Rape Crisis Network says failure to adopt the recommendations will result in a drop in the conviction rate of sexual offenders.

She says there is a crisis of confidence in the system and the current drop in reporting of sexual crime is likely to continue.

The network has called for the political debate on gardaí to move from putting more officers on the streets to improving the training and resourcing of new officers.