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Pressure on new DPP to pursue more rape cases

THE DUBLIN Rape Crisis Centre today called on the DPP to give explanations to victims of rape as to why he was not continuing with a large number of cases.

The call follows comments by outgoing DPP James Hamilton claiming that if he charged more people in rape cases it would only result in more failed cases. He also claimed that alleged victims would not thank him for taking cases that failed.

Today Ellen O'Malley Dunlop called on the DPP to explain to alleged victims why so many cases were dropped.

She added that she believed more victims would continue with cases if they felt they were getting answers from the DPP.

"He needs to give his reasons why he is not pushing the cases.

"He committed to doing this in the past and has already done so with murder cases. We know Mr Hamilton is leaving next month so we would hope the new DPP will follow through on the commitment," she added.

Ms O'Malley Dunlop said she understood that the DPP would only bring to court cases which he felt would succeed but stressed that reasons needed to be given to claimants when cases were dropped.

"Claimants need to know the reasons why the DPP doesn't put their case forward. Having no answers is proving a real deterrent to victims who would bring cases in the first place," added Ms O'Malley Dunlop.

The head of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre also revealed that many victims of sexual assault and rape who did not believe that their case would succeed in the criminal courts were opting instead for civil actions.

"We are certainly seeing more people availing of this route. We offer a free legal advice service and we suggest claimants go the civil route.



Proof

"The burden of proof is not so high. The perpetrator won't be sent to jail but they can be found guilty of the incident and there will be a punitive action.

"In a criminal trial the burden of proof is very high. It's one person's word against another and it's really really difficult to prove. It's a harrowing process for anybody involved," she added.

Describing a rape trials as a process which the victims often abandon Ms O'Malley Dunlop added: "There is a high level of fallout in between the whole process it's so harrowing that claimants pull out.

"We would definitely be encouraging everybody in this position to hang in and stay with the process."

Ms O'Malley Dunlop urged anyone who needed support to contact the National 24-Hour Helpline on 1800778888.

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