The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre is today marking 40 years since it was first set up.

In the year it first opened its doors, 76 people made contact with the DRCC. That is compared to the 13,367 contacts made with the national helpline in 2018.

DRCC Chief Executive Noeline Blackwell said the driving force in setting up the organisation in the 1970s was the women’s liberation movement.

She said that the DRCC’s first report in 1979 talked about women at that time being seen as property, when it was still not a crime for a husband to rape his wife, and where the focus was more on force rather than consent. 

At that time she said, it was recognised that people had nowhere to go to get support. Now there are 16 Rape Crisis Centres around the country. 

Noeline Blackwell said that there is still a "hidden nature" to sexual violence "that just isn’t there for other types of harm and crime".

A conference is being held today marking the 40th anniversary of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Speakers at the conference today include rape survivors and for former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore who is now an EU special representative for Human rights.

The focus of the conference is to recognise the contribution of volunteers and others to the centre over the years, but it’s Chief Executive also said it is to "question why we are still in a situation where there is so much more to be done in order to eliminate sexual violence".