Law reform would give victims 'more trust in justice system' - Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

Noeleen Blackwell is the CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

Update 1.25pm: The Dublin Rape Crisis centre says reforming our rape laws will give victims more confidence to report the crime.

Currently, somebody accused of rape can use the defence that he honestly believed that a woman was consenting to sex.

The Law Reform Commission has published a number of options in relation to consent - with the public urged to have its say.

As part of this review - the Commission suggests that the words 'reasonable belief' could be added to the definition of rape.

CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Noeleen Blackwell thinks its a good move.

She said:

When victims understand that a person's bizarre beliefs may actually acquit them of the crime it is another reason not to trust the justice system. This would give victims a little bit more trust in the justice system.

Earlier: Issue of consent the main focus of review of Irish rape laws

The issue of consent is the main focus of a review of Irish rape laws.

The Law Reform Commission has published a paper looking at options for reform in the area - including whether someone should be charged if they did not make sure their partner consented.

Irish law on rape says an accused is only guilty when a sexual act occurred and they knew there was no consent.

The LRC is asking for the public's view on the issue and is appealing for submissions.

CEO Of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Noeleen Blackwell says a review of our rape laws is essential.

She said: "A person will be acquitted of rape if they reasonably believe that the other person was consenting. Currently, no matter how strange the belief is if someone really believes it they will be acquitted.

The trouble is they walk out of court free and if they have this strange system of belief, they can commit the crime again.

Tom O'Malley, a senior law lecturer at NUI Galway and a member of Law Reform Commission said:

This paper is dealing with just one aspect of the law of rape. That is, the question of whether a person should be entitled to be acquitted of rape if it is found that he honestly believed that the complainant was consenting even though his belief might have been unreasonable in the circumstances.

- Digital Desk

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