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One in Four welcomes Supreme Court ruling on time delay in reporting sexual abuse

“The human dynamic at the core of this issue demands that we continue to evolve responses to sexual violence that fully consider the rights and needs of all concerned; victims, their families, perpetrators and wider society, this ruling is a welcome further step in that direction,”  O’Gorman.

One in Four, the national charity which supports people who have experienced sexual violence, welcomed yesterday’s unanimous Supreme Court decision which ruled that delays in reporting child sexual abuse do not automatically allow persons accused of sexually abusing children to seek an order barring their prosecution on the basis of such delays.

Prior to this ruling it fell to the DPP to explain the reasons for any delay in reporting on a case by case basis. This led to victims of sexual abuse being required to undergo extensive and sometimes distressing psychiatric or psychological evaluations and often led to lengthy delays in the prosecution of cases further adding to the trauma and distress of the victim.

“Given that we know that only three in every one thousand sexual offences against children result in a prosecution we must do everything possible to ensure that our criminal justice system deals in a humane and compassionate way with victims of such crimes whilst also vindicating and upholding the rights of accused persons”, said Colm O'Gorman, Director of One in Four. “This ruling is a common sense ruling by the Court which finally deals with an issue which has been ruled upon time and time again in individual cases”, he added.

One in Four particularly welcomed the Supreme Courts recognition that  "the court's experience extends to a broader set of issues and it has found that there is a range of circumstances extending beyond dominion or psychological consequences flowing directly from the abuse which militates or inhibits victims from bringing complaints of sexual abuse to the notice of other people, in particular those outside their family and even more particularly the Gardaí with a view to a possible trial”.

“If we are to properly address the issue of sexual violence in Ireland it is vital that we continue to challenge and inform our collective understanding of the complex issues arising from sexual violence. The human dynamic at the core of this issue demands that we continue to evolve responses to sexual violence that fully consider the rights and needs of all concerned; victims, their families, perpetrators and wider society, this ruling is a welcome further step in that direction, said O’Gorman.

 
 

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Support and resources for people who have experienced sexual abuse and/or sexual violence.