A rape crisis hotline will likely be set up in Iceland after discussions in parliament on the issue.Inside Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament. Photo Icelandic Photo Agency.
There is currently no helpline or website specifically for reporting rape. People can call the emergency services number 112 or the Red Cross helpline 1717 and be directed to the appropriate professionals but a hotline specifically for rape victims does not exist.
Associate professor at the Reykjavík University School of Law Svala Ísfeld Ólafsdóttir brought attention to the issue in a meeting on actionplans to counteract child sex offenses with the Judicial Affairs and Education Committee on Tuesday.
Spokesperson for Stígamót (Education and Counseling Center for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence) Guðrún Jónsdóttir and director of the Human Rights Center Margrét Steinarsdóttir agree on the importance of setting up a helpline.
A helpline run by Save the Children was closed after it proved unsuccessful. Project manager at the organization, Margrét Júlía Rafnsdóttir, told Fréttablaðið that the Icelandic population is quite simply too small to pay for such a service and this was the reason for their line being closed down.
According to Margrét, most of the calls they received were concerning issues related to friends, boyfriends/girlfriends or school. “Luckily there were very few calls which needed to be responded to. Our experience is that these difficult issues do not end with a phone line. It cost too much to run with such few users,” she said.
The hotline will allow victims, next of kin and those who have sex offenses to seek advice from professionals.
Reports of sex offenses have been forthcoming in recent days. A man was taken into custody on Wednesday last week after his confessions of five decades of child abuse were broadcast on national television.
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