Newstalk
Newstalk

07.43 3 Feb 2021


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The number of people who faced prosecution for rape increased by over one-third last year.

There was also a 15% rise in prosecutions planned for other sexual offences.

Figures obtained by Newstalk show the steady increase in cases the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed for prosecution for sexual offences in recent years.

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In 2010, they decided to prosecute 68 people for rape.

By 2019, this had almost doubled to 124 - and there was a further 35% increase last year, to 168.

The DPP directed that 254 people be prosecuted for 'other sexual offences' in 2010, rising to 459 in 2019 and to 530 last year.

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre says the new figures suggest only 14% of rapes reported to the Gardaí end up in court.

'Garda specialisation'

Cliona Sadlier is executive director of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland.

She told Newstalk Breakfast a change in the system has seen higher numbers of prosecutions.

"If we look at the system and say 'what changed?' - what changed is... the Gardaí started to specialise in terms of investigation and responding to sexual violence.

"And the DPSUs, the protective services units, were being set up through this period.

"So the theory behind that specialisation, was that the Gardaí were going to be delivering a higher quality, a specialist service to survivours, survivours would be getting a better service and the evidence would be better.

"So what the DPP in theory should have been getting from the specialist units was better evidence in the files.

"And perhaps that we're looking at here, in terms of this significant increase in the DPP making decisions to put the file forward, is that they're getting better evidence".

She said these numbers are slightly different to what they would normally compare.

"We think this is good news, and the reason we think that is because we're trying to figure out what would impact that?

"And of course the first question is: does that mean more sexual violence - and generally not.

"Generally, what we're looking at here is that something in the system has changed and has created a change in terms of these numbers."

"Usually the numbers we're looking at is the reports into the Gardaí - [but] these numbers here are for much later down the stage.

"So this number - this 159 files that the DPP put forward for prosecution - have already been through the investigation process, and... there's a decision made on them to send them through to the courts."

"What we're looking at here are sexual violence cases that happened in at least 2019, if not before.

"There's no COVID impact here on these numbers, these will pre-date COVID".

Reporting by Eoghan Murphy | Additional reporting: Jack Quann


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Cliona Sadlier DPP Director Of Public Prosecutions Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Prosecution For Rape Rape Crisis Network Ireland Sexual Violence

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