NO Exceptions NO Loopholes NO Excuses

Monday, February 19th, 2007

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) broadly welcomes the proposals put forward today at the launch of the 28th Amendment to the Constitution Bill 2007 by The Taoiseach Mr. Ahern, The Tanaiste Mr. McDowell and The Minister for Children Mr. Lenihan today.

In particular the DRCC welcomes section 5 of the Bill. It will provide legal authority for the collection and exchange of information relating to the risk or actual occurrence of child sexual abuse. It will permit the Oireachtas to create offences of absolute or strict liability in respect of sexual offences against, or in connection with children.

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, Chief Executive, DRCC said “Since the Supreme Court Decision in the CC case last May, fewer and fewer child victims of rape and sexual assault have reported these crimes. The defence of ‘honest mistake’ has been one of the major deterrents in the problem of under reporting. As the law stands, if a child is raped or sexually assaulted the accused can claim ‘honest mistake’ as to the age of the child. The child can be re victimised and re traumatised by the process of cross examination in court. We need this constitutional change now. We must protect our children. We must send a very clear and absolute message to the perpetrators that these crimes will not be tolerated any more.”

The DRCC urgently appeals to all parties to agree to this Referendum going ahead now. We have had enough delays. Our children are at risk as the law stands.

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop said “We must act now to ensure that there can be NO Exceptions NO Loopholes and NO Excuses for sexual offences against children.”

For further information please contact:
Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, CEO – 01 661 4911 / 086 809 9618

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