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Support group for victims of sexual violence received 14 new referrals a day following rape trial

Cara Cash of Nexus

A SUPPORT group for victims of sexual violence saw 14 new referrals a day after the Belfast rugby rape trial.

Figures also show that the waiting list for Nexus NI counselling has more than doubled from 300 to more than 700 cases.

The charity provides advice and help for victims and chief executive Cara Cash said increased public investment in services was urgently needed.

Waiting lists range from a fortnight to four months.

"In the wake of the trial, the day that the verdict was given, for about two and a half weeks after we saw 14 new referrals per day," she said.

Ireland and Ulster rugby stars Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were cleared of rape following a nine-week trial which attracted enormous publicity and public comment.

Ms Cash said there had been a surge in sexual violence reporting as victims identified it with their own experiences but warned some of the coverage had been difficult for those affected.

She said she knew one of the outcomes of the trial would be increased interest in their organisation.

"Where we have a difficulty is that our funding is stagnant, so we are talking to senior civil servants within the Department of Health about how much demand has increased. What we need now is reciprocal increased investment in our service."

Read more: 'Watershed' reaction to Belfast rape trial spurs creation of new Rape Crisis Centre for Northern Ireland

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