Home > Male patient attendances at Sexual Assault Treatment Units in Ireland: an analysis of 381 cases and a comparison with female patients.

Kane, Daniel and Kennedy, Kieran M and Flood, Karen and Eogan, Maeve (2024) Male patient attendances at Sexual Assault Treatment Units in Ireland: an analysis of 381 cases and a comparison with female patients. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 102, 102643. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jflm.2024.102643.

External website: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/...

Background Sexual violence is a crime that affects people of all genders. While focus is frequently on female survivors, it is crucial to acknowledge that males also experience sexual violence and to ensure that gender-sensitive services are available to all survivors. Understanding the prevalence of, and factors associated with, sexual violence against males is a critical first step in addressing this issue. We aim to address the lack of data in relation to sexual violence against males.


Methods A cross-sectional study of all male attendances at 6 Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATU) in the Republic of Ireland over a 6-year period and, where applicable, comparison with corresponding female attendances.


Results There were 381 male attendances with an average age of 28.5 years over the study period, representing 7 % of all SATU patients. There was a 24 % increase in male attendances during the study period. 39.1 % presented within 24 h of the assault. 61.9 % reported the crime to the police. Employment status included 37.3 % employed, 24.9 % unemployed, and 26.2 % students, with 86.7 % being Irish nationals. Most incidents occurred on weekdays (53.3 %) and at night (56.7 %). Referrals were primarily from police (55.9 %), and psychological support was provided in 62.3 % of cases. Alcohol (60.4 %) and illicit drugs (20.5 %) were reported before assaults. 18.6 % suspected drug-facilitated assaults. Male assailants constituted 90.1 %, with 13.9 % involving multiple assailants. Male attenders were significantly more likely than females to be assaulted in their assailant's home and to be assaulted by more than one assailant. They were significantly less likely than females to report the crime to the police or to have consumed alcohol.


Conclusion To our knowledge, this is the largest case series of male patients attending a sexual assault treatment service yet to be published in the international literature. Male patients are a distinct group that are increasingly accessing SATU services. Significant differences exist between male and female patients’ reported experiences of sexual violence. Knowledge of these factors will support appropriate tailoring of treatment & service provision, prevention and awareness strategies to help modify the impact and reduce the incidence of sexual violence in this cohort.

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