Galway Survey examines Rape Victims’ Experience of Legal System

Friday, January 20th, 2006

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has launched a media campaign to highlight an important national survey and to appeal to eligible members of the public to participate. The Faculty of Law at NUI Galway is conducting a national survey of men and women who have experienced sex against their will.

Breda Allen of the DRCC said: “The aim of the study is to find out what factors influence people’s decisions to report or not report to the Gardai when they experience sex against their will, and for those who do report, to find out what response they get from the criminal justice system. Why are we encouraging people to take part? This study will make recommendations for changes in the policing and legal system. Your help could make a real difference in how the criminal justice system treats people who have experienced sexual violence.”

This survey, commissioned by the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI), forms part of a wider research project on the attrition rate in Ireland. What is the attrition rate? Of sexual crimes committed, a smaller proportion are reported; of those reported, a smaller proportion are prosecuted; of those prosecuted, a smaller proportion end in conviction. Currently fewer than 1 in 10 victims of non-consensual sex report to the Gardai. Only a tiny proportion of reported sexual crimes end in a conviction. The research project aims to increase our understanding of attrition.

Angela McCarthy, Clinical Director explains: “For the purposes of the survey, we need men and women who have experienced sex against their will in Ireland since 2002, and who were aged 18 or over at the time. We in DRCC are actively encouraging this group of people to take part, as this is a groundbreaking three year study with the potential to bring about change. The more people who take part, the more influential the survey will be. The senior researcher is Deirdre Healy of Galway University. Deirdre wants to hear about your experience, whether you reported it to the Gardai or not. She is interested in your opinions about the help and support you received (or would like to have received) at the time and in the months that followed. This is your chance to let your voice be heard.”

The DRCC, RCNI and the NUI Galway research team stress that all contacts will be treated in the strictest confidence-people do not even have to give their names if they don’t want to.

Those who are eligible and wish to take part can:

* phone Deirdre Healy on 091-495374 (Monday-Thursday 9am – 5pm)
* download the questionnaire at: www.end-the-silence.com

For further information please contact:
Breda Allen, Acting CEO – 01 661 4911/087 9270656
Angela McCarthy, Clinical Director – 01 661 4911/086 3611231

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