Dublin Rape Crisis Centre welcomes report into ‘systemic abuse’ throughout Defence ForcesGary Ibbotson 28 Mar 2023
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre has said a review published today into systematic abuses within the Irish Defence Forces was, “from first accounts, a welcome recognition of a clear, long-standing and grave failure to protect those working in the Defence Forces, particularly women.”
In a statement, DRCC’s chief executive Noeline Blackwell said that preliminary accounts of the report by an independent review group found that there has been a “serious failure over a long time to protect those who work within our Defence Forces.
“In particular, the report highlights how women were, shockingly, portrayed as ‘barely tolerated’.
“It is a real sadness to know that those who have given sterling service to the State at home and abroad had to work in conditions that – either potentially or actually – were appallingly unsafe and abusive.”
DRCC said the reaction of the Government, as relayed by An Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin TD, was welcome.
“His statement today shows the government has accepted that the behaviour, discrimination and sexual misconduct described in the report forms a distinct and unacceptable pattern.” a statement said.
“In setting up the Independent Review Group, and accepting its findings, the Government had made a good start in addressing a very troubling situation in a core public institution.”
Blackwell said the three-pronged plan – to set up an enquiry, to reform systems for complaints, and to address the culture of the Defence Forces, “were all essential and must proceed quickly and be adequately resourced.”
“It is simply not acceptable that the sexual misbehaviour, discrimination and abuse detailed in the report would continue in any shape or form anywhere, but particularly in a public institution whose members exist and work to keep our nation safe and free from harm,” she said.
“Those upholding the safety and dignity of so many others at the very least deserve to have their dignity and safety also recognised, protected and respected, and justice to be served for any past offences.”