RCNI Press Release 28 January 2009
Court of Criminal Appeal decision means our justice system fails to offer society reasonable protection from sex offenders
Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) after today’s Court of Criminal Appeal judgement overturning double rapist Philip Sullivan’s life sentence, appealed for meaningful risk assessment to be an integral part of considerations of sex offender sentencing.
Fiona Neary, RCNI Director said, ‘society has the right to be protected from sex offenders who pose a real risk of reoffending upon release. It is not right that sex offenders should re-enter society regardless of their known risk and without having demonstrated any reduction in likelihood to rape again. We would ask that our judges be permitted to give life sentences where reliable risk assessment forms the basis of those sex offenders being freed back into society.
‘For example, a serial rapist could be given a life sentence, with a review date set after an appropriate minimum time. When the offender can demonstrate that through participation in Offender Programmes his risk to society of perpetrating further sexual crime is reduced, then supervised release can be considered at that point. However, where no reduction in risk can be demonstrated, the full life sentence can continue to apply.’
• 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