The new figures show a 14.7% increase in the number of sexual offences reported in the first quarter of this year
The Justice Minister has said the Government is taking the increase in recorded incidents of sexual assault 'very seriously'.
New crime figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show there was a 14.7% increase in the number of sexual offences recorded in the first three months of the year, compared to the same period last year.
There have been increases in crime across the most categories - including a 16.1% increase in kidnapping and related offences; a 15.9% rise in robbery, extortion and hijacking offences, as well as fraud and deception offences; and a 14.7% jump in murder attempts, assaults and harassments.
The only category to see a decrease was homicides, which saw a 17.2% drop when compared to the first quarter of 2017.
The statistics have been published 'under reservation', amid concerns over the quality of data being provided by gardaí.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has insisted he is confident work currently being done will soon "return the recorded crime statistics to the higher standard expected of our crime statistics".
Speaking about the published figures, Minister Flanagan said: "The rise in the recorded incidents of sexual assault, and particularly rape, is something this Government is taking very seriously.
"I would make the point that an increase in recorded incidents of sexual assault can also indicate an increase in the reporting of sexual crimes, and I would continue to encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault to come forward and report the incident to An Garda Síochána.”
He expressed disappointment in the increase in the number of recorded thefts (8.1% increase) and burglaries (1.2%).
However, he welcomed the decrease in the number of killings, suggesting: “It is clear from the reduction in homicide figures that An Garda Síochána continue to make significant progress in tackling the insidious threat of organised crime.
"Indeed, I welcome the huge efforts made by An Garda Síochána to prevent further loss of life; in particular the preventing of over 50 murders"