The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Calls for a Date to be Named for the Constitutional Referendum on Child Protection and Children’s Rights

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Now we are seeing the terrible consequences of the rushed 2006 Sexual Offences Act. Yesterday a man walked free from the central criminal court after a jury took less than two hours to deliver a verdict of not guilty. This man had been originally charged with “unlawful carnal knowledge” of a 13 year old girl when he was 20. The charge was changed to “sexual assault” because of the striking down of the 1935 Statutory Rape Law.

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, Chief Executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) said: “I wonder would the jury have found this man not guilty if the case had taken place when she was still 13 and he was 20? She is now 20 and he is 27. This is another demonstration of the huge delays that happen in our judicial system and another reason why complainants fall out of the system. Is it possible for a 13 year old to give informed consent to a sexual encounter? We must reintroduce strict liability in cases of rape and sexual assault of children and we must have the onus of proof of honest mistake, on the adult and not the child. We must also have a definition in law of consent.

This acquittal sends out a very damaging message and certainly does not instill confidence in our ability as a society to protect our children.”

The DRCC wants a date set now for the Referendum on the Constitutional Amendment on Children. The Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment have done Trojan work but we need action now.

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

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