The Law Society welcomes announcement of specialist training to support victims of sexual violence

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The Law Society of Ireland has today welcomed the launch of ‘Supporting A Victim’s Journey: A Plan to Help Victims and Vulnerable Witnesses in Sexual Violence Cases’. Launched by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Helen McEntee, on Wednesday 28 October, the plan aims to better support victims in cases of sexual violence.

The President of the Law Society Michele O’Boyle said, “Yesterday’s announcement is an important step in protecting vulnerable victims of sexual violence and facilitating a victim centred approach to investigations and prosecutions of sexual violence cases.”

“The Law Society warmly welcomes the launch of this plan and I commend the Minister on her commitment to, and timely progress made on, this plan since the publication of the O’Malley Report in August.

In August, the Law Society welcomed the publication of the O’Malley Report and the adoption of key Law Society recommendations from the Law Society’s submission to the O’Malley Review (May 2019).

Victim centred approach

“Access to justice is a priority for the Law Society, and we welcome the move to provide free legal advice to victims of sexual assault, even where there is no prosecution.”

“Further, the adoption of the Law Society’s recommendation of specialist training for members of the judiciary, the legal profession and An Garda Síochána will ensure victims are supported sensitively and comprehensively throughout investigation and prosecution processes,” explained Ms O’Boyle.

“I hope and expect this practical plan will improve the experience of victims of sexual violence coming through each stage of our legal system; from reporting a crime and receiving legal advice, to their experiences in court and during prosecution.”

Accountability and implementation

“The Law Society welcomes the Minister’s detailed plan, clear assignment of responsibility, and announcement of ambitious timelines for this plan’s completion. This clarity and set deadlines will ensure accountability for the plan’s implementation and, ultimately, its success.”

“As part of this plan, the Law Society is examining its current training structures, and, where necessary, we will adapt to provide updated training to our members,” explained Ms O’Boyle.

“I look forward to seeing the developments in this area and to engaging with the Minister on this and future issues going forward.”

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