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One in Four welcomes DPP ‘Reasons Project’

One in Four, the national charity that supports women and men who have experienced sexual violence, today welcomed the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions to seek views on a discussion paper ‘The Reasons Project’recently published by the Office in relation to the prosecution policy on the giving of reasons for decisions. The purpose of this discussion paper is to examine the current policy of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions not to give reasons either to victims or to the public generally when a decision is made not to prosecute or to withdraw a prosecution.


One in Four has continually called for transparency in the decision making process in the Office of the DPP. Speaking today, Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Advocacy Director said:


We understand the complexity of investigations into crimes of sexual violence and especially investigations in historic cases of sexual abuse. We fully appreciate the absolute need for the independence of the office of the DPP. However we are concerned that the lack of any requirement on the DPP to explain the reasons for not prosecuting individual cases undermines the confidence of victims of sexual crime in our criminal justice system. We do not accept that transparency and accountability would infringe upon the independence of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”


This decision of the DPP to explore the possibility of giving reasons to victims of crime for not prosecuting cases could also make a real difference to the lives of women and men who have experienced sexual violence.


Examined from the victim’s perspective our system can appear cold, harsh and inhumane. A victim may spend years waiting for the outcome of their initial complaint only to be told that no prosecution will result, with no explanation given. This is the reality of the majority of those who make complaints of historic sexual abuse to An Garda Síochana.”


Unless we understand the reason why prosecutions are not being taken, little can be done to reform the system and improve rates of attrition in the area of sexual crime and unless victims understand why prosecutions are not taken in cases, they are unlikely to have any confidence in the system.” said Fitzpatrick.


One in Four look forward to providing the DPP with a written submission outlining our views on how to make the criminal justice system more transparent without interfering with people's rights.

 
 

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