CSO figures show increase in recorded crime against people with disabilities

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) crime figures released yesterday (March 30th) show an increase in the number of recorded sexual offences against mentally impaired persons increased from 12 in 2014 to 22 in 2015. An increase of 83%.

Recorded sexual offences rarely lead to convictions. Of the 144 recorded sexual offences against mentally impaired persons between 2003 and 2012, only six lead to convictions (a conviction rate of 4%).

Ireland has not introduced law to give effect to the EU Directive on Victims’ Rights. The European Commission issued infringement proceedings against Ireland after the Government failed to inform the Commission what legislation they plan to put in place to implement the Directive.

It is now nine years since Ireland singed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD.

Ireland’s promise to ratify the Convention has not been honoured. The government has also failed to amend existing legislation to give greater protection to disabled people who are victims of sexual violence.

Disability hate crimes are a daily reality throughout the Europe.

However, Ireland is one of the few EU member states without effective hate crime legislation. The Criminal Law (Hate Crime) Amendment Bill 2015 has been prepared by civil society organisations.

Dedicated offences are proposed under the law. These have the greatest potential to address hate crime. 

Further information

Mentally impaired persons

Under section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, 1993, “mentally impaired” means suffering from a disorder of the mind, whether through mental handicap or mental illness, which is of such a nature or degree as to render a person incapable of living an independent life or of guarding against serious exploitation.

Crime recording

Incidents reported or which become known to members of An Garda Síochána are recorded when, on the balance of probability, a Garda determines that a criminal offence defined by law has taken place, and there is no credible evidence to the contrary.

If it is subsequently determined that a criminal offence did not take place, the criminal offence recorded is invalidated and is not counted in the statistics.

If a person makes a report and subsequently withdraws it by stating that the criminal act did not take place, then this too is invalidated unless there is evidence to suggest that, by reasonable probability, the offence has taken place.

Victims’ Rights Directive

On the 16 November 2015, the EU Victims Directive became law in Ireland. The Directive provides that all victims of crime have minimum rights supports and protections for all victims of crime regardless of their residential status. Ireland has failed to introduce the legislation required to be implement the Directive.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

International human rights law. The Convention opened for signature on 30 March 2007 and entered into force on 3 May 2008. Ireland signed the convention in 2007 but has yet to ratify.

Hate crime

Violent offences motivated by bias or hostility, contempt, malice, or bigotry are examples of hate crime. Hate crime is a daily reality for thousands of disabled people throughout the Europe. The European Union and the Council of Europe, have identified hate crime as an issue that needs to be addressed.