Criminal justice system ‘inherently ill-equipped’ to deal to sex crime challenges
Facing Forward report says: “Victims recognise very quickly that an adversarial criminal justice system reduces them to being a witness for the State and gives them very little opportunity to explain the impact of the abuse on their lives.”
A restorative justice system to enable victims to meet offenders should be introduced in cases of sexual violence, a new report recommends.
The study, based on 149 interviews with victims, offenders, judges and others, found strong support for the idea as a way of filling some gaps in the adversarial criminal justice system.
It found that the current courts system was “inherently ill-equipped” to address some of the challenges posed by sex crime, particularly for victims and their families, and argued that the high bar for evidence had resulted in almost 70 per cent of such cases not being prosecuted.
“Victims recognise very quickly that an adversarial criminal justice system reduces them . . . to being a witness for the State and gives them very little opportunity to explain the impact of the abuse on their lives,” according to the report, which was commissioned by Facing Forward, a voluntary organisation that advocates restorative justice methods.
Written by Dr Marie Keenan of the School of Applied Social Science at UCD and Bernadette Fahy, a counselling psychologist, it notes that fewer than one in 10 sex crime cases ever reaches the criminal justice system.
“For the vast majority of victims of sexual crime, a gulf exists between what the criminal justice system promises and what it can actually deliver.”
Sense of isolation
Victims who participated in the study spoke of their frustrations with long delays, a lack of information on how to navigate the system and the sense …read more
Original post: Family Therapy Association of Ireland