RCNI Press Release 28 April 2009
Ireland’s Criminal Justice System’s poor performance in rape cases can be improved through reform of the investigation process
Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) welcome the Child and Women’s Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU) of the London Metropolitan University launch of their latest research project into comparative attrition in rape cases across Europe entitled, “Different Systems – Similar outcomes. Tracking attrition in reported rape cases in eleven European countries”.
Caroline Counihan, RCNI Legal Director said, ‘we have known about appalling attrition rates for rape in Ireland since at least 2004. The RCNI have looked at the leadership being shown by police forces in other countries supported by research which clearly demonstrates that reforming the investigative process is critical. Such reform must include investigative specialisation in sexual violence cases, combined with a victim focus. This will deliver:
1. Increased conviction rates for rape cases
2. Increased detection rates
3. Increased quality of the Book of Evidence in sexual cases, thus lowering the overall headline crime rate and contributing to safer communities.
4. Increased prevention of crimes of sexual violence
5. Increased Garda resources, as less sexual violence is perpetrated
6. Increased rates of reporting
7. Increased public confidence in Garda capacity.
Fiona Neary, RCNI Director said, ‘the rate at which rape cases, once reported, drop out of the system and therefore never go to court – the attrition rate - is very high in rape cases in comparison to other serious criminal offences. In 2007, of all rape cases recorded 17% had relevant proceedings, while 32% of robbery and related offences, 44% attempted murder and threats to kill, 34% other non-fatal assaults, and 57% of murders had relevant proceedings. The evidence Liz Kelly and Jo Lovett of the CWSAU continue to bring to the debate on attrition in rape in the criminal justice system is invaluable in improving justice for victims of sexual violence.
‘This CWASU’s latest research is timely and will compliment, amongst other research, the RCNI Attrition in Rape Cases Research Project, the results of which will be launched in Autumn 2009. Whilst the CWASU research will examine 10 cases from each EU country, the RCNI Project includes the tracking of 100 Irish cases. Given our on-going rates of attrition, it is critical that such detailed research continues to inform strategies and reforms.
• The RCNI is the national Rape Crisis Sector body, which provides a voice for survivors and is a catalyst for social change towards a society free from abuse.
For information contact:
Clíona Saidléar: 087 2196447