It Says in the Papers: Rape in Ireland.

Today’s newspapers carry a number of reports from the Rape Crisis Centre’s 30th Anniversary Conference: Rape Law: Victims on Trial?.

Women’s Aid used the conference to highlight that it can take women 2 months to obtain a barring order against an abusive partner. RTE highlights research presented at the conference by Ivana Bacik which showed that the accused was acquitted in 47% of rape cases tried in the Central Criminal Court between 2003 and 2009. The Independent has further details on Senator Bacik’s presentation here. The Irish Times provides a full account of the conference, focusing in particular on Tom O’Malley’s proposal for open-ended jail terms for rapists. The Irish Examiner reports that Irish judges allow rape victims to be questioned about their sexual history in three out of four trials.The Irish Independent focuses on speeches made at the conference about undesirable Irish attitudes towards rape victims. Those attitudes were cast into sharp relief by recent events in Listowel Co. Kerry which centred on the trial and conviction of local man Danny Foley for sexual assault. A large number of local people, including a priest expressed public support for Foley – including sympathising with him in the courtroom at his sentencing hearing -and his victim was ostracised by a large number people living in the town.  The Kerryman newspaper has coverage hereherehere , here, herehere, here and here. A selection of commentary from the national press is available here, here and here.

Saturday’s conference comes after the publication of Rape Crisis Network Ireland’s book Rape and Justice in Ireland. The executive summary of that book is available here and many of the papers from the conference held at its launch in December are available here. The book highlights in particular that the DPP drops 70 in every 100 rape cases. Liz blogged about the contents here.

Addition: The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg recently published a ‘viewpoint’ entitled ‘Impunity for rape of women must be stopped‘ :

Rape is not only a private issue between two individuals. It must also be seen as a human rights concern – as governments have not provided sufficient protection of individuals against this great harm from others. The Strasbourg court is right to refer both to Article 3 about protection against ill-treatment and to Article 8 about respect for one’s private life.

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