The actors are cast to play alongside Irish judges who are being trained to run the courts during sensitive sexual assault and rape cases.
The move is part of a program launched in response to recommendations on how Irish courts and the legal process can most appropriately act in such cases.
According to the schedule of the two-day course, held in August, the judges took part in a two-hour session, during which they engaged in roles with actors on the theme of “vulnerable persons in court”.
The curriculum, designed by the Dutch Judicial Training College, included participatory exercises and discussions around vulnerable people in court, as well as training in “inquiry and attention to personal aspects (re-trauma avoidance)”.
To date, eight judges involved in such hearings have completed the program and will now assist in the training of their colleagues in the future. The next phase is to be started by the end of the year.
The specialist training, which is also ongoing for lawyers, follows Prof Tom O’Malley’s publication last year of a review of protections for vulnerable witnesses in the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes.
In the report, he recommended that appropriate steps should be taken to ensure that judges and lawyers are familiar with the aspects of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Offenses) Act 2017 relating to the interrogation of victims during sexual offense trials.
Their report states, “All judges presiding over criminal trials for sexual offenses and all lawyers appearing in such cases must have specialist training that equips them with an understanding of the experience of victims of sexual offenses. “
Dublin Rape Crisis Center, which provides assistance to victims during court proceedings, was invited to deliver introductory speeches to eight judges.
chief executive of the center noelin blackwellA qualified lawyer said, judicial council Overseeing the training was taking this seriously but cautioned that systemic change would take time to implement.
“It’s hard to go to court for people who are rank amateurs to talk about things you wouldn’t normally talk about,” she said. “Judges cannot be assumed to know things about the effect of sexual offenses on the victim. It may not have been in their practice. It is really important that they do this to understand a particular effect.” receive training.”
“Last year was the first [in Ireland] It was recognized that people may be particularly vulnerable to the type of crime they experienced in the courtroom,” she said.