The new annual report from the Courts Service has shown that there has been a significant rise in rape cases put before the courts.
There was a total of 83 rape or sexual assault cases brought before the courts in 2012, up from 63 cases in 2010. Additionally, the number of acquittals in these cases jumped from 10 in 2011 to 21 in 2012.
While sexual assault cases have risen, other offences showed drops in their statistics. High-visibility crimes such as joyriding, drunk driving, public order offences, and assaults showed decreases in the annual report.
Reasons cited for this drop in highly dangerous activities are more emigration, reduced policing, and the general success of public awareness campaigns says Chief Justice Susan Denham, reports the Irish Mirror.
Denham asks: “Is this related to the effects of greater emigration or lessened population? Are intervention and awareness programmes working? Are the sanctions of the courts taking effect?”
The answer is unclear, but what is known is that these sorts of crimes are dropping. There was a reported 22% drop in public order and less serious assaults and a 33% drop in drunk driving order violations.
At the same time, though, domestic abuse reports have risen by 20% in the last two years, the reason for which is attributed to new legislation passed that extended the act of domestic abuse to more people.
Roughly 230 people were imprisoned or given suspended sentences for breaching barring orders in 2012, out of 1159 allegations of a breach of such orders. Of this 1159, 530 were struck down by the courts, mostly due to the complaint not being proceeded with or because the State withdrew.
Denham highlighted the fact that there has been a 50% increase in orders restricting company directors, and a three-and-a-half-fold increase in the number of directors disqualified. Denham said that building trust in the economic sector lies more on maintaining “ethics in the board room and in the governance of enterprises,” than on “a constant eye on the needs of the shareholders.”