Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Martin Kenny TD, has reacted to the publication of the survey on stalking and harassment in Ireland which was published today.
This survey, the first of its kind in the state, was undertaken by Dr Catherine O’Sullivan and Dr Ciara Staunton from University College Cork, in partnership with the Cork Sexual Violence Centre.
Speaking today, Teachta Kenny said:
“The results of this survey are truly shocking. More than half of those who have suffered at the hands of a stalker have not reported the crimes.
“I have spoken to people who have been victims of this despicable behaviour, and so many feel they will not be believed, they feel they are blamed, and some question whether they are overreacting.
“All of this can lead them to forgo reporting these crimes and, in some cases, it seems that when people do find the strength to report this type of crime they are not always met with understanding.
“I want to encourage those who have suffered at the hands of a stalker – no matter who they are, whether known or unknown to you, whether a friend, ex-partner, colleague, or stranger – to make a report to Gardaí.
“While additional training is needed for some Gardaí, for the most part there are specialised Gardaí who will treat you with care and compassion, and will investigate these incidents thoroughly.
“A vital piece of information in these survey results are the financial and emotional impact this insidious crime has on its victims.
“Over 400 respondents detailed the debt they faced as a result of legal fees, costs related to counselling, medication, or indeed the costs associated with moving house or jobs.
“The judiciary also has a role to play here, however. I welcome the introduction of stalking as a standalone offence in the upcoming Criminal Justice (Misc Provisions) Bill 2022, legislation that is long overdue.
“It is vital that when a victim or victims of this behaviour come forward, and the perpetrator is convicted, that person must face a significant sentence.
“In particular, the bravery of people like Una Ring and Eve McDonnell in opening up about their experiences of stalking and harassment to the public has been key in shaping stalking legislation, and in encouraging others to come forward and report this crime to Gardaí.”