Rape Victims 'Ignored If They Were Drinking'; Campaigners Say Alcohol Should Not Stop Prosecution

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Byline: Alan Sherry Crime Reporter

RAPE victims are not taken seriously if they have been drinking, campaigners have warned.

A study shows that 7 per cent of reported rapes result in a conviction. And victims who had been drinking before the assault are often discouraged from reporting the crime.

According to the report, which also shows that rapes involving middle-class or higher socio-economic victims or perpetrators are very rarely reported, 45 per cent of alleged victims were severely intoxicated when attacked and 20 per cent were moderately intoxicated.

Gardai do not encourage rape victims to report the crime if they do not believe the victims will be credible before the courts, the Rape Crisis Network Ireland warned.

Its report said: 'There is a very strong indication that alcohol consumption is implicated in rape.' And Fiona Neary, of the Rape Crisis Network, warned that alcohol is not an excuse for rape or an excuse for recklessness as to consent.

'Rape is still rape when alcohol is a factor, but this research finds that alcohol often means the rape does not count.

'This is unacceptable. The evidence shows that until Ireland tackles its binge-drinking culture, our legal system must develop greater expertise in investigating and prosecuting rape cases where alcohol is a factor.' 'The justice system is failing to provide redress for victims who had been drinking.

'Not only are they more vulnerable to being targeted for assault, they are less likely to be considered useful and reliable witnesses if they report to the gardai, and their case is more likely to fall out of the system,' she warned. …