The Children at Risk in Ireland group has reported a rise in the number of calls to its helpline, with a marked increase in calls about rape and sexual assault.

In its annual report, CARI said the 4% increase in calls coincides with ongoing funding cuts, leading to a reduction in the services it can offer.

CARI suffered a 13% drop in State funding last year.

All CARI staff took a month long lay-off, leading to a drop of 7% in therapy, while waiting lists grew to over 50 children by the end of 2012.

In addition, CARI's therapy service in Cork was closed, depriving the region of its only specialist therapy service for child victims of sexual abuse.