Military Abuse Claim
At Coleman Legal LLP, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive legal support to those who have been impacted by military abuse in Ireland. Our experienced team is committed to fighting for justice and seeking compensation for victims. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases and offer compassionate and discreet guidance throughout the process.
Abuse in the Defence Forces
Unfortunately, in recent years many disturbing accounts of physical and sexual abuse have been uncovered much to the shock and disgust of the public and the wider military community. This was thanks in large part to the Women of Honour campaign (WOH), a group of female former members of the Defence Forces who came forward to tell their various harrowing accounts of bullying, harassment and in some instances sexual assault/abuse.
The revelations in a Prime-Time documentary on the WOH then brought about the creation of the Independent Group on Defence who spent around 10 months interviewing dozens of former members of the Defence Forces covering a plethora of issues including mistreatment by superior ranks, medical scandals in the army and air corps, bullying, harassment and other high profile wrongdoing. RTE 1 documentary
The Group was chaired by retired Judge Bronagh O Hanlon and was made up of a number of experts in their field including senior barristers and HR experts. Of note, the WOH declined to participate in the review citing issues with the terms of reference of the Group. Namely, that it lacked the power to compel witnesses to appear before it. Notwithstanding that the report has been published to the Minister for Defence at this stage only and has not been made public as yet.
Additionally it should be noted that in 2020, a Presidential Commission on the deployment of Irish Defence Forces in UN peacekeeping mission recommended a redress scheme for Irish peacekeepers who suffered abuse, harassment or sexual assault while on duty. The government has still yet to act on the recommendation.
Report of the independent review
An investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and harassment within the Irish Defence Forces has recommended a full statutory inquiry be set up to investigate major concerns that have been highlighted following the conclusion of the Independent Review Group’s (IRG) year long investigation.
The IRG was established in 2021 after a group of female veterans known as the Women of Honour raised concerns regarding their experiences of bullying, harassment and sexual abuse in the military.
The IRG then interviewed both serving and retired Defence Forces members during a 1 year investigation and found that inappropriate and illegal behaviour was widespread in the Defence Forces, describing an unsafe working environment and one that ‘barely tolerates women’ at best.
The report suggested a broader statutory inquiry with legal powers to compel witnesses to give evidence be established. The report has been considered by cabinet and the calls for a statutory inquiry have been accepted by the Cabinet and the Minister for Defence. The terms of reference for any inquiry have yet to be set out. View the Full Report
The claim process
Sexual abuse in the Irish military is a serious issue, and victims of such abuse have the right to seek compensation and other forms of support. The procedure for filing claims varies depending on the specific circumstances of the abuse and the time frame in which it occurred. Depending on when the abuse occurred, it may be possible to file a claim for compensation against The State or directly against the Defence Forces itself. In most cases, the perpetrator (if alive) would also need to be included in the legal case.
The process of filing a claim and obtaining compensation through the judicial system can be complicated and time-consuming, and it is recommended that victims seek the help of a solicitor or other legal professional with experience in handling military abuse cases. It is also possible to seek help from NGOs, such as ones specialised in helping survivors of sexual abuse. It is important to point out that seeking justice and compensation through the legal system may not be the only or the best choice for some survivors, and it’s important that they have access to professional help and support as they navigate their options.
What should a victim of abuse in Ireland do?
If you are a victim of abuse in Ireland, there are several steps you can take to ensure that you receive the support and help you need.
1. Report the abuse
It is crucial to report the abuse to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible. Depending on the nature of the abuse and the circumstances in which it occurred, this may mean contacting the police, the Health Service Executive (HSE), or other relevant organisations.
2. Seek medical attention
If you have been physically injured as a result of the abuse, it is crucial to seek attention from a medical professional as soon as possible. This will not only ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment for your injuries, but it will also provide documentation of the abuse.
3. Reach out for support
It is important to reach out for support from family and friends, or from organisations that specialize in helping victims of abuse. This can include counseling, therapy, and support groups.
4. Get legal advice
Depending on the nature of the abuse and the context in which it occurred, you may be entitled to pursue a legal claim. It is recommended you seek advice from a solicitor or other legal professional who has experience in handling cases of abuse, they can guide you through your options to ensure you make informed decisions.
5. Preserve evidence
If you choose to pursue legal action, it’s important to preserve any evidence of the abuse, including any medical records, police reports, and any other relevant documentation.
Seeking help and support can be difficult, and it may take time to fully come to terms with what has happened to you. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are many organisations and individuals who are ready and willing to help you.
What are the level of damages for sexual abuse in Ireland?
The amount of compensation for sexual abuse in Ireland can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the abuse and the impact it has had on the victim’s life. Factors that may be taken into account when determining the amount of compensation include the severity of the abuse, the physical and psychological injuries sustained as a result of the abuse, and the impact of the abuse on the victim’s ability to work and lead a normal life. In general, the amount of compensation awarded in cases of sexual abuse tends to be higher than in other types of personal injury cases. However, it is hard to give a general answer as the compensation will differ for each specific case, and it will be determined by the court on an individual basis.
In any case, it is important to seek legal advice from a solicitor who has experience in handling cases of sexual abuse. They will help you to understand the compensation process and estimate how much you may expect to receive, if your case is successful. Importantly, compensation may not be the only goal or the main priority of survivors and it’s crucial that they have access to professional help and support, independent of any legal proceedings.
Statute of Limitation
The time limit to claim for military abuse in Ireland depends on the type of claim being made and the court in which the claim is being made. For civil claims, the general time limit is six years from the date of the alleged abuse. View More. It is important to note that time limits and their extensions can be complex and vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. If you are considering making a claim for military abuse in a civil case in Ireland, it is recommended that you seek legal advice from a qualified solicitor as soon as possible. Read More
Organisations supporting victims of military abuse
There are several organisations in Ireland that provide support and assistance to survivors of sexual abuse. Some of the most notable include:
- Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI) is a national organisation that provides support, information, and advocacy to survivors of sexual violence and abuse. They also work to raise awareness about sexual violence and to promote social change. Visit Site
- Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) provides a range of services for survivors of rape, sexual assault, and childhood sexual abuse, including counseling, therapy, and support groups. They also provide a helpline service that is available to anyone who has been affected by sexual violence. Visit Site
- One in Four is an organisation that provides counseling and therapy services to adults who have been affected by childhood sexual abuse. They also run a helpline and have a website full of resources and information. Visit Site
- The ISPCC is the largest child protection charity in Ireland, providing support and help to children who have suffered abuse of any kind. Visit Site
- The HSE has a dedicated service, the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, that provides a range of services, including medical treatment and forensic examination, to survivors of sexual abuse.
These are just a few examples of the organisations that exist in Ireland to support survivors of sexual abuse. It’s important to find the one that best suits your needs, as each organisation may have different services and focus. It’s also worth noting that there are many other sources of support that you can turn to, including counseling and therapy services, self-help groups, and legal services. You may also seek support from your GP or other medical professionals. Lastly, it’s important to understand that healing can be a long process, and each person will have their own pace and way of dealing with the trauma. You must be patient and compassionate with yourself and prioritize self-care throughout the process.
Our team at Coleman Legal LLP, has extensive experience dealing with cases related to military abuse claims. We understand the sensitive and complex nature of these cases and will ensure that you receive the best possible legal representation. We take a compassionate and personalised approach to every case we handle. We understand that being a victim of abuse can be a traumatic and emotional experience, and we are committed to supporting you through the legal process. Our team will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected, and that you receive the compensation you deserve for the harm you have suffered.
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