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Home > Rape and justice in Ireland: a national study of survivor, prosecutor and court responses to rape.

Hanly, Conor and Healy, Deirdre and Scriver, Stacey (2009) Rape and justice in Ireland: a national study of survivor, prosecutor and court responses to rape. Dublin: Liffey Press.

"Rape and Justice in Ireland", a groundbreaking book commissioned by the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, is the result of a four-year independent research study into the process of prosecuting rape cases in Ireland. This book is an important advance in our understanding of the reasons why so many rape cases are lost from the system during their progress from incident to reporting, to final court hearing, resulting in a conviction rate for rape in Ireland of only 7 per cent. The book also offers a unique insight into the Irish justice system as the authors were granted unprecedented access to the files of the DPP, the courts and the direct experiences of survivors of rape. Part 1 examines the early stages of attrition in rape cases by tracking the experience of rape survivors up to the point where any file goes to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).


Part 2 focuses on the attrition rates at the next stage of the criminal justice process. It looks at a larger sample of case files already submitted to the DPP and performs a quantitative analysis on questionnaires on each file completed by DPP staff members. Part 3 describes the further process of attrition as rape cases move through the courts, using a retrospective methodology to analyse court records and trial transcripts over a four-year period. The key findings of this research expose the nature of the factors at play in navigating a rape case through the justice system. It shows how the quality of social and official support for survivors is vitally important in order to progress a case, and that survivors as well as officials such as the Gardai tend to think and act in terms of "real rape" scenarios to the disadvantage of the majority of cases that do not fit that criteria. It also explores the factors that influence the DPP's decision to prosecute and those put forward in successful and unsuccessful court cases. Rape and Justice in Ireland concludes with recommendations for comprehensive reform of the justice system to lead to more effective prosecution of rape cases, as well concrete suggestions to help in the prevention of the crime. This is an important and pioneering book.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Book
Drug Type
All substances
Call No
xxi, 4
Liffey Press
Place of Publication
Accession Number
HRB 4898 (Available)

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