Placing Victims at the Centre of the Criminal Justice System

For every crime, there is a victim. For too long, the criminal justice system has been focused on the perpetrators of crime and not the victim. Fianna Fáil believes that this needs to change.

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Switch the focus to the victim

Victims of crime need to be properly supported by the criminal justice system. There are a number of ways in which this can be achieved. Fianna Fáil has already introduced legislation to give greater support and protection to victims of sexual violence through the criminal justice process. We will consider measures to make sure victims across all crime types are fairly treated throughout the criminal justice process.

Public faith in the justice system is an integral component of enabling it to do its job properly. Inconsistent sentencing and a lack of information around decisions harm public trust in the justice system. It often leaves victims feeling like victims all over again. Fianna Fáil will establish a Judicial Sentencing Council to ensure greater consistency in sentencing.

Victims of crime need to be given a greater voice in the decision as to whether to grant a prisoner early release. In 2016 Fianna Fáil introduced a Bill to establish the Parole Board on a statutory footing. This Bill also increases the period of time which a murderer must spend in prison before being considered for parole from 7 years to 12 years. Making this bill law is a top priority for Fianna Fáil.

While Fianna Fáil recognises the clear benefits of remission of part of a sentence, we believe it should always be earned. The current system whereby all prisoners have an automatic right to one-quarter remission on their sentence needs to be changed.

Fianna Fáil’s plan to support victims of crime

  1. A new Judicial Sentencing Council

    Establish a Judicial Sentencing Council.

  2. Parole reform

    Establish the Parole Board on a statutory footing.

  3. End automatic remission

    End automatic remission, while preserving the entitlement to remission for good behaviour while in prison.

  4. Charge the legal aid system

    Introduce a mechanism whereby the cost of legal aid can be recouped from a person charged and convicted of an offence if that persons financial means substantially changes.

Domestic violence and Sexual Offences

Significant work needs to continue to ensure that the victim blaming culture that is often prevalent in this country is reversed.

Placing Victims at the Centre of the Criminal Justice System

For too long, the criminal justice system has been focused on the perpetrators of crime and not the victim.

Sexual Offences Against Children

Only 4% of reported sexual crimes against children result in a court conviction.

Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour

For too long, anti-social behaviour has been allowed to fester.

Tackling Rural Crime

The government has failed to protect rural communities against crime.

Violent Crime

We need a strategy that strikes a balance between prevention through early intervention and robust law enforcement.

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