Women’s Aid, a national organisation supporting women affected by domestic violence, has today welcomed the Supreme Court judgement in relation to the 2018 decision of the Court of Appeal to reduce by two years the sentence of a man guilty of the rape and assault his wife.
Sarah Benson, Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Aid reacted to the development:
“Women’s Aid welcomes the judgement of the Supreme Court that the decision made by the Court of Appeal to reduce the sentence of a man, guilty of the rape and assault of his wife, was wrong. The importance of this ruling cannot be under-estimated. The Supreme Court has also laid out sentencing guidelines for cases of rape which recognise that rape where there is an abuse of trust is an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing. It also indicates an important understanding by the Court that rape should not be judged in isolation of other offences. This could include the specific dynamics and impacts of coercive, controlling behaviour in abusive intimate relationships which create the environment for sexual abuse and rape.”
Ms Benson continued:
“One in four women in Ireland experience physical and/or sexual violence by intimate partners but rarely do we see cases of marital rape before the justice system. Women who call us for support often find talking about sexual abuse by a partner the most difficult aspect of abuse to talk about. Under-reporting and the difficulty in speaking about sexual abuse mean that it is almost an invisible part of the horror of domestic violence. However, we hope today’s decision will send a positive message to all women experiencing domestic abuse and sexual abuse, a brutal crime that deserves to be treated seriously and sanctioned appropriately. We hope that it is a ruling that will bring long overdue comfort and a sense of justice to the victim at the heart of this case."
Ms Benson concludes:
"We know there will be women today who are directly affected by this issue and we encourage anyone who is in this situation to call our 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 – we are here to listen, believe and support women experiencing domestic violence.”
Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900
For more information email Christina Sherlock on email@example.com or phone 0879192457.
Notes to editors/producers: