As part of the Ending Sexual Harassment and Violence in Third-Level Education (ESHTE) project, our team is creating a series of webinars covering the issues stemming from conversations and research with students and institutes in our partner countries.
In our third webinar, Denise Roche, Legal and Policy Officer of the National Women's Council of Ireland, explores the legal positions and frameworks around sexual violence, looking at both Irish and European contexts, discussing the existing challenges in the laws on sexual violence, and examining ongoing developments and solutions in this area.
Noting the difficulties in the lack of availability of data on sexual violence and harassment, Denise outlines the main pieces of legislation for offences of these kinds. Going through the reporting mechanisms and legal processes for victims of sexual violence, including both criminal and civil routes, Denise then explores the supports and protections for those going through these cases, such as the recent introduction of the Victims Rights Directives.
In investigating some of the challenges in the laws around sexual violence, Denise points to how many victims of sexual violence know their perpetrators, often posing a barrier to reporting, while the way in which victims are treated in the legal system also presents significant difficulties. Later, when looking to best practice, she raises the importance of the Istanbul Convention in protecting women against violence, and how it compels strong legal standards, data collection, and monitoring.
Denise closes off the webinar by examining emerging offences of sexual violence and harassment, addressing ways in which laws and practices should adapt to better protect victims and ensure a safer society. She then makes a number of recommendations to change the law and legal processes for victims of sexual violence and harassment into the future.
For more, watch the ESHTE Project Webinar - Sexual Violence and the Law from NationalWomensCouncilofIreland on Vimeo.