Monday 16 January 2017

Abuse victim tossed around political arena like a broken toy

Published 23/05/2015 | 02:30

'The vitriol directed against Mairia Cahill after she withdrew her complaints against a suspected IRA man she accuses of raping her, was simply off the scale'
'The vitriol directed against Mairia Cahill after she withdrew her complaints against a suspected IRA man she accuses of raping her, was simply off the scale'

The secondary victimisation of rape and sexual violence victims by the criminal justice system goes a long way to explaining why so many cases drop out before an accused is charged, let alone tried and convicted.

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The island of Ireland boasts notorious attrition (drop out) rates when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of complaints of sexual violence, itself a great pity as we have - in the Republic at least - quite healthy conviction and sentence rates once they do pass prosecutorial muster.

This secondary victimisation by the system can, to many complainants, feel as brutal an assault on their person than the acts of sexual violence they initially suffered. This, in turn, leads victims to withdraw and perpetrators to act with impunity.

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