Saturday 20 April 2019

'Clothes don’t rape women, rapists rape women' - Justice Minister on teen's underwear reportedly being referred to in trial

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Pic: Mark Condren
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Pic: Mark Condren
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

“Clothes don’t rape women, rapists rape women,” Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said in response to the reports of a teenager’s underwear being referred to during a recent court case.

He also confirmed that he plans to seek Cabinet approval shortly for a second major report into sexual violence.

The SAVI (Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland) report was last done in 2002 and was considered a landmark report which looked at various aspects of sexual violence.

Mr Flanagan said he hopes work on the new SAVI report is expected to begin next year and will cost around €1m.

Meanwhile, an independent report from legal expert Tom O’Malley is due at the end of the year which is looking at how rape and sexual assault cases are handled here.

Protests this week drew international headlines as people took to the streets to protest remarks by a defence counsel in a rape case where the alleged victim’s choice of lace underwear were drawn to the attention of the jury.

The defendant was found not guilty but the comments were discussed in the Dáil at length when Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger brought a lace thong into the Chamber to highlight the incongruous nature of having underwear discussed in a court setting.

Speaking today Mr Flanagan said: “I believe it’s important that the criminal justice system responds in a way that ensures that complainants of sexual assaults and sexual violence are followed through on.

“There are issues pertaining to the practice and procedure of court cases that I would be very keen that we review,” he said.

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