Mullan welcomes plan to deliver improvements in serious sexual assault cases

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan welcomed the publication of an implementation plan to deliver the recommendations from the Gillen Review into serious sexual offence cases and called for its full implementation.

The Foyle MLA  said:

“I welcome the publication of this Implementation Plan which  Sinn Féin have been calling for since the Gillen report was first published in May 2019. I am deeply concerned, however, that to date only 11% of the report’s recommendations have been implemented.

“This is a slow rate of progress on what is a priority issue.

“There are major problems with the criminal justice system including how sexual offence trials are conducted with victims being let down by the system for too long. Victims deserve better.

“Sexual crime is among the most heinous of crimes and can often leave a long-lasting traumatic impact on the victim. Reporting a rape or sexual assault can be an extremely difficult experience which can add to the trauma.

“For those who do report to the police, the victim can often be subject to a humiliating and traumatic experience both in and before the courtroom. 

“The publication of this Implementation Plan must now ensure that the rapid implementation of the remaining recommendations is an urgent priority for the Justice Minister and her partner agencies so that we can modernise our criminal justice system in a way which no longer fails victims of sexual crime.

“I particularly would like to see urgent action in the development of Remote Evidence Centres, better protections for child victims, and increasing awareness about consent and dispelling rape myths. 

“We will continue to ensure that these issues are at the top of the Justice Minister’s agenda.”