There was an observatory this past December regarding the justice process for cases of violence against women. Violence against women is an issue that has persisted and possibly grown over the years. One in three women surveyed reported that they faced violence physical and or sexual by an intimate partner or non-partner over the course of their life (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs239/en/). Although surveys have noted such a large prevalence of these events, only eight percent report such incidences to gardai.
There are many variables that affect the process of justice for such cases including societal views, recognition of the violent act, gardai intervention strategies. The common question that needs to be addressed throughout the process is how are women being supported throughout the process? Unfortunately, victim blaming is a common occurrence, but the recognition of the issue and then being believed and feeling safe throughout the process is essential to lasting change and support for women who have faced violence. Recently, the definition of consent has been redefined to when someone freely and voluntarily agrees to the act, which can be withdrawn at any time prior to and during the act (http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2017/act/2/section/48/enacted/en/html). This new and discrete definition has allowed further clarity surrounding the issue of consent. Furthermore, clearly defined laws are necessary to prosecute and bring cases to any conclusion. Thus far the laws have not been specified to their fullest event. Yet, when they are clarified, they then need to be known by individuals and society at large so that people can identify the issues clearly. Prevention and programming for identifying unlawful acts can particularly be helpful during university because that is the age when a large percentage of the violence occurs. Hopefully through continued education, support for women in the midst of their cases, and preventative measures taken when possible, such cases of violence can cease or be severely limited.