The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre is reporting a rise in demand for its services over the period of the country’s economic recession.

Last year the DRCC experienced an increase of 23% in first-time callers to its national 24-hour helpline when compared to the number of calls it received in 2010.

More than 12,000 contacts were handled by the helpline in 2012.

Chief Executive Ellen O'Malley Dunlop said that since the recession there has been a disturbing year-on-year increase in calls from victims of adult sexual violence.

She said the figures reflected the view that sexual violence and violence against women in particular, increases in times of economic recession.

More than 4,640 people who contacted the helpline were repeat contacts, an increase of 6% on 2011.

Volunteers from the centre accompanied 260 victims of recent rape and sexual assault on visits to the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in 2012.