Press Release: Rape is an inherently violent act – Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Rape is an inherently violent act. There is no such thing as a ‘less violent rape’

There have been a number of calls to the National 24 hour Helpline for victims of sexual violence  1800 77 88 88, emails and social media responses, from victims and members of the public, stating their anger and upset, following the interview with retired Judge Mr. Barry White, on the Sean O’Rourke Show this morning on RTE 1.

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop CEO Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said: “If there was ever any doubt that ongoing education and training was needed for the Judiciary dealing with cases of rape and sexual violence, this interview is the perfect example of that necessity. Mr. Justice Barry White very clearly stated that he did not believe that the judiciary needed education and training in this area.

He said, in answer to a question on sentencing in cases of rape:  “You have to look at the particular circumstances of the act of rape. There can be some very violent ones and some less violent ones…”   We say: Rape is an inherently violent act. There is no such thing as a ‘less violent rape’…

He then went on to talk about a sentence that he was criticised for in the case of a young Brazilian woman whose perpetrator had been found guilty by a jury of raping her.  He handed down a seven and a half year sentence but suspended three and a half years of the sentence.

He referred to the victim as a non-national when in fact she was a Brazilian National. He admitted he did not know anything about the criminal justice system in Brazil but he did say that he “…took a view in that, on the victim impact report, or statement, and the victim seemed to have a considerable interest in compensation for the offence.” This admission surely highlights an implicit judgement of the victim. In Brazil compensation is available to victims in the criminal justice system as it is in Ireland. In Ireland rape ordinarily attracts an immediate and substantial custodial sentence not withstanding there may have been compensation paid.

The training that the Education and Training Department of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has on offer, for those involved in the criminal justice system, is training that helps participants to understand the impact of rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, on the victim. If judges were to understand more fully the consequences on the individual of these most heinous crimes, it would more fully inform their understanding of the impact on the victim, which they must take into consideration when they are delivering a sentence. “

ENDS

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