DRCC chief executive honoured with doctorate from Trinity College Dublin

02 December 2022


Chief Executive Officer of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) Noeline Blackwell today expressed her profound gratitude on being awarded an honorary doctorate in laws by Trinity College Dublin for her work promoting and upholding human rights in Ireland.

The citation for the event recognises in particular Noeline’s work as the head of two national organisations that aim to support and defend basic human rights: FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) where she worked before her current role as CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. It also mentions her roles in a number of other bodies that support the rights of different groups.

Noeline said she was deeply honoured by the award: “I feel very privileged to receive this distinction, which I believe reflects the work of all those whose talents and energy sustain and promote those organisations and others with which I’ve been associated. I accept the award in recognition of all of us.  

“I believe that in the main, our society does understand the importance of respecting and protecting human rights and our vibrant civil society culture  nourishes and underpins this work.

“I have been lucky to have been able to contribute to promoting our fundamental human rights as part of all these fantastic organisations and so I thank Trinity College Dublin for the award.”

We remind everyone that the National 24-Hour Rape Crisis Helpline is there for all those affected by sexual violence – including the supporters of victims/survivors - who need support or information at any time: call 1800 778888 for free, non-judgmental and confidential support.


Notes for editors:  

  1. On Friday 2 December 2022 at 3pm, honorary degrees of the University of Dublin will be conferred on Noeline Blackwell, Dorothy Cross, David Ford and Alan Rusbridger at a Commencements Ceremony in the Public Theatre. https://www.tcd.ie/registrar/honorary-degrees/
  2. Pictures attached from Maxwells for free repro – pics show Noeline Blackwell, Dorothy Cross, David Ford and Alan Rusbridger with TCD Provost Dr Linda Doyle and Chancellor Dr Mary McAleese.
  3. You can see DRCC’s actions for the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence from 25 November to 10 December on our website.
  4. Biographical note for Noeline Blackwell:

Noeline Blackwell is a human rights lawyer and CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, a voluntary organisation which works to prevent the harm and heal the trauma of sexual violence. She has previously worked as a solicitor in private practice and as Director General of access to justice organisation FLAC.  Noeline has been a member of several statutory and NGO boards. She currently chairs the Independent Patient Safety Council and the Child Law Project  . She sits on the Department of Foreign Affairs' Women Peace & Security Oversight Group and its Audit Committee and is a member of the Governing Authority of University College Dublin

  1. Dublin Rape Crisis Centre is a non-governmental, voluntary organisation which has as its mission to prevent the harm and heal the trauma of rape. It offers a suite of services to victims/survivors of sexual violence. It also offers a wide range of training and education to professionals and volunteers.  
    • DRCC operates the National 24-hour Helpline 1800 778888 to support anyone affected by sexual violence in any part of the country. A webchat support service is available online at drcc.ie Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm. A Helpline Interpreting Service is available for those who do not speak English - more at https://bit.ly/DRCClang
    • For those contacting the Helpline who are deaf or hard of hearing, we provide a text service, operating Mon-Fri from 8am to 6:30pm, at 086-8238443 and we also have a webchat service available Monday-Friday, 10am to 5pm, except holidays.
    • DRCC offers counselling & therapy to adult survivors of sexual violence and to older adolescents from 16 years of age with parental/guardian consent.
    • We provide accompaniment support for the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, to court or to Garda stations to people in Dublin and in surrounding areas, by arrangement.   
    • We have outreach offices at Coolock, Dóchas Women’s Centre, Balbriggan & Tallaght. Access to these services must be arranged via the National Helpline 1800 778888 during working hours, Mon-Fri.   
  2. We ask that when reporting on this topic, journalists should remember that discussions on sexual violence can trigger personal trauma in those receiving the information. Where possible, please make reference to the National 24-hour Helpline 1800 77 88 88 for anyone who may be affected by the report.