‘Too few’ sex offenders are being sent to jail, says Rape Crisis chief
‘Tinder rapist’ Patrick Nevin attacked three women in 2014
October 07 2020 02:30 AM
Almost one in three of all sex offenders jailed in 2019 got light prison sentences of two years or less, official figures show.
Of the 187 sex offenders sent to prison last year by the courts some 57 got jail terms of up to two years.
Only two offenders got jail terms of 15 to 20 years in 2019.
The number of rapists, child abusers and other sex offenders jailed was up 9pc on the 172 sent to prison in 2018.
But Noeleen Blackwell, chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said the number sentenced and currently in jail “still seems extraordinarily small given the level of sexual violence that is happening out there.
“It points to the extreme low level of reporting by victims,” she said. Ms Blackwell said that “the numbers of sex offenders in jail is tiny”.
“We have a system that is not hearing most of the sexual offences crimes happening in the country. The justice system has not made the accommodations for those victims that it needs to make and as long as it fails to do that, our prison population will not properly reflect the level of criminality of sexual offences taking place in the country,” she said.
Ms Blackwell said it was good to see the increased numbers of sex offenders jailed last year compared to 2018.
But she said this was a result of more cases going to court due to a higher detection rate. Ms Blackwell did say that without knowing the exact offence in each case it is difficult to comment on the sentences imposed.
“Some may be too low and we know some in cases victims were appalled by the sentences imposed or a sentence imposed didn’t match the seriousness of the crime,” she said.
Even though offenders get light sentences of two years and less the impact of their crimes can still “be very grave and the harm enormous”. She said a very low percentage of sex offenders undergo treatment in prison.
“A lot of sex offenders are leaving prison at the end of their sentences without any insight into their crimes and the harm done,” she said.
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre had just over 7,000 first-time calls last year from victims seeking help after they had been attacked.
Figures on the sentencing of sex offenders came from the Irish Prison Service. These reveal 23 sex offenders got 12 months or less. Last year, the 187 sex offenders jailed overall included two women. Some 66 offenders got jail terms of two to five years with 48 receiving jail terms of five to ten years.
Fourteen sex offenders got prison terms of 10 to 15 years.
The IPS also revealed there are 433 sex offenders in prisons, including 325 at the Midlands prison in Portlaoise, Co Laois, and 102 at Dublin’s Arbour Hill jail.
Those jailed last year include serial sex offender Patrick Nevin (38) previously of Mounttown Road, Dún Laoghaire, and Dundalk, Co Louth. He attacked three women in the space of 11 days after meeting them through Tinder and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Bogdan Timorte (37), formerly of Synnott Place, Phibsboro, Dublin, was jailed in June 2019 for eight years for the rape of a woman in a laneway off Parnell Street.
The figures provided by the IPS show that just 37 sex offenders have been jailed for the first six months of this year.
The fall is a result of the effect of Covid 19 on the courts system and has prevented many trials from proceeding this year.