Irish courts ‘not fit for purpose’ when it comes to violence against women

Irish courts 'not fit for purpose' when it comes to violence against women

Noeline Blackwell

The Irish courts are “not fit for purpose” as far as dealing with violence against women is concerned, experts have said.

The legal process frequently re-traumatises women, a UN special rapporteur and NGO leaders told viewers in a webinar hosted by Orla O’Connor of the National Women’s Council of IrelandThe Irish Examiner reports.

While the Istanbul Convention “provides a roadmap” towards a safer world for women, its measures have not been enshrined in legislation, said Dubravka Šimonovic, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women.

Noeline Blackwell of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said sexual violence and rape are often not seen in the context of domestic abuse.

“We have a duty to protect and promote people’s right to live without sexual violence and to ensure that they have access to justice and support if they do,” said Ms Blackwell.

Meanwhile, Mary Louise Lynch, the founder of Survivors Informing Services and Institutions (SISI), said that numerous women are still abused after separation due to a system that is blind to coercive control.

She said courts and children are manipulated by abusers so that they can keep exerting control after separation, which has to led to situations where, for example, women have been forced to put up photos of their rapist to avoid being accused of alienating their child’s father.

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