Friday 20 April 2018

Abuse victim tossed around political arena like a broken toy

'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'
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

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.

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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