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One in Four call on Minister Mc Dowell to consider the safety of victims of statutory rape

One in Four, the national charity which supports women and men who have experienced sexual violence, today called upon Minister Mc Dowell to urgently consider the implications for victims of abuse following Justice Laffoy’s ruling. This ruling has caused a huge emotional impact on those victims whose perpetrator is currently convicted of statutory rape. In the midst of the understandable public upset, the fact remains that flaws within our judicial system and legislation dating back some 70 years have created this situation. We must not lose sight of the human issues that are at the centre of all of these cases and the understandable fears and upset of the victims of these crimes. These concerns must to be considered and their fears and anxiety recognised.

Deirdre Fitzpatrick, Advocacy Co-ordinator in One in Four today spoke about the impact on victims of sexual violence following Judge Laffoy’s ruling:

“We have been contacted by a number of victims this past week who are fearful for their safety in the wake of last weeks Supreme Court ruling that led to yesterdays High Court decision to release Mr. A. What can follow now is the release of other men who have been convicted of statutory rape in recent years.

In responding as to how best protect these victims, Ms Fitzpatrick said:

“Minister Mc Dowell must now consider the very valid and real concerns of those individuals for their own safety. We would ask the Minister that in part of any review of the current situation he must also consider the understandable and valid fears and anxieties that are currently being felt by the victims of the perpetrators of the crime who have or will be released.

“We now call on the Minister to clarify the issue of safety for victims and find ways in which we can ensure that any victim will not find themselves confronted by the perpetrator. We urge the Minister to consider that the State, as part of any argument on release of an offender seek from the court, an order barring the perpetrator from approaching or contacting in any way the victim of the crime and their family.”

The very real child protection issues which now emerge must also be addressed as a matter of urgency. Ms Fitzpatrick said: “We also call upon the Minister for Health & Children to instruct the Health Service Executive to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment on any child in the care of those men who may be released following the Supreme Court Judgement and Judge Laffoy’s ruling.”

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