Judges need special training to understand the impact of rape and sexual assault on a victim, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre CEO Ellen O'Malley Dunlop said on Morning Ireland today.
“We have the highest fallout between reporting an act of rape or sexual assault and getting to court. To go to court is a very onerous experience, it’s very difficult for a victim.” She said.
“Judges need to have education on what is the aftermath of rape on an individual. When someone is raped they are abused to the core of their being.
“It’s terribly important judges understand how people are affected by rape. While someone may seem to be ok and not affected by what has happened to them, that may not be the case”.
She appealed on rape victims to remain in the justice system.
“Please stay in the system. You are doing a great service to society by staying in the system and ensuring perpetrators of this most heinous crime are going to be found guilty and get the appropriate sentence so they won’t repeat this crime on another victim.”
Despite the Rape Crisis Centre offering training to help judges understand the impact of sexual crime, no judge in the state has yet taken up their offer.
“We have offered education programmes to the judiciary”, she explained.
When asked if any judges had taken up the course she said: “Not of yet, but we hope that will happen.”
Ms O’Mally Dunlop said that the group have met Chief Justice Susan Denham and they hope that more judges will take up the training soon.
“We met Justice Susan Denham and we spoke to her about it and we hope to move on that shortly.”