Irish Government must back consent-based definition of rape in new EU directive – DRCC

3rd January 2024

Posted In: FYI

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) has said it will write to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD to ask that the Irish Government campaign for the inclusion of rape in the European Union’s forthcoming Directive on Combatting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.

DRCC was responding to concerns raised by MEP Frances Fitzgerald in media reports today (Wednesday, 3 January) that some countries in Europe, including Ireland, have not yet agreed on a definition of rape to be included in the Directive.

CEO of DRCC, Rachel Morrogh (pictured), said Ireland must take a leadership role on how rape is defined in the Directive and that a consent-based definition would have a direct and positive impact on the ability of victims and survivors to access justice across Europe.

“Ireland has relatively progressive laws on sexual violence and our leaders must continue to use their influence in Europe to convince other member states that a consent-based definition of rape will benefit their citizens too.

We believe that legal opinions have been used as a rationale to suggest removing important wording related to rape, but we strongly urge Member States to show courage and conviction in the face of any objections to progress on tackling sexual violence.

“As a structure that prizes equality and security for all, the EU must find a solution that does not dilute the definition of rape as a serious crime based on lack of consent. Ireland has a key role in advocating for and achieving this goal, and DRCC will support our politicians and officials in whatever way we can to accomplish it.

“We will be failing the huge number of people in Europe harmed by sexual violence, especially women and children as those most vulnerable and most impacted, if we do not include a definition of rape in this ground-breaking directive.

“DRCC would also like to acknowledge the key role played by Frances Fitzgerald MEP as a lead negotiator of the wording put forward by the European Parliament. We thank her sincerely for all her work in this regard,” commented Ms Morrogh.

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