Plan to require defense forces to refer rape allegations to Garda welcomed – The Irish Times
Plans to change Defense Forces legislation to require allegations of rape or other serious sexual assaults to be automatically referred to An Garda Síochána have been described as “a no-brainer” by the organization, which represents commissioned officers.
Lt. Col. Conor King, secretary-general of the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (Raco), described the court-martial system as “archaic” and said he understood why reliance on internal grievance mechanisms was widespread.
Welcoming the Independent Review Group’s report on the Defense Forces, he said any legal investigation should proceed swiftly so that people could have peace of mind that “we are wiping out anyone who is still serving and believes they have a right to engage in this way.” to engage in behavior”.
He said the case for referring rape or sexual assault allegations to Lake Garda was clear. The review found that while allegations of serious criminal behavior were generally referred to the police, this was not always the case.
The jurisdiction of courts-martial to deal with the most serious crimes is limited, the review noted, adding “it is not clear” why that jurisdiction should be retained by the court-martial system, rather than passing it on to An Garda Síochána, law enforcement agencies and the civil courts.
“Changing the legislation to require all allegations of rape or aggravated sexual assault by the Defense Forces to be referred to An Garda Síochána for investigation is such a no-brainer,” Lt. Col. King said.
“Why would the Defense Forces be equipped, even empowered, to investigate a sexual assault? If a member came up to me and said that he or she had been sexually abused, I would say, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to take you to the guards right now because they’re the people who have the authority.'”
Lt. Col. King said there was general frustration with the broader internal grievance procedures, caused in part by staffing issues, and that he hoped the report would lead to an overhaul of those systems.
“We have this archaic kind of court-martial system that takes way, way, way too long and causes people to lose confidence in the process because it drags on for years in some cases,” he said. “People might see this kind of cumbersome, overly bureaucratic grievance process and think, ‘It’s not even worth the pain that goes with a grievance.'”
Some of the problems, he said, were caused by staff shortages and people in charge of investigations moving on during investigations. He said Raco and PDForra should play a role in all reformed structures.
The report should be seen as an opportunity, he said. “There’s a lot to talk about it’s a game changer and it needs to be.
“If we don’t accept these recommendations and work really hard to implement them for the benefit of the organization, we’re in big trouble. But if we do that, it can be positive.”
https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/2023/04/02/plan-to-require-defence-forces-to-refer-rape-allegations-to-garda-welcomed/ Plan to require defense forces to refer rape allegations to Garda welcomed – The Irish Times