Landmark study finds Travellers’ trust in justice system is ‘extremely low’

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FEARS OF WRONGFUL arrest, excessive usage of force, wrongful conviction, and disproportionately precocious sentences framework the mode Travellers prosecute with the transgression justness system, according to a “landmark” study by researchers astatine University of Limerick.

The caller study, which documents Travellers’ perceptions and experiences of transgression justness institutions, recovered that Travellers’ spot successful the Irish transgression justness strategy is “extremely low”.

While fractional of the Travellers responding to the survey were victims of transgression offences successful the erstwhile 5 years, lone one-fifth had been arrested successful that clip period.

Half of those surveyed had been contiguous successful a location that gardai entered without permission; erstwhile asked astir the past lawsuit successful which that happened, successful lone 11% of those cases was a hunt warrant shown to idiosyncratic contiguous successful that home.

Professor Jennifer Schweppe, from UL’s School of Law, said their probe “shows that Travellers are simultaneously implicit policed arsenic suspects and nether policed arsenic victims”.

“Justice is not seen to beryllium done successful Irish courtrooms by members of the Traveller community.”

While 71% of the wide colonisation hold with the connection “The Gardai successful this country dainty everyone reasonably careless of who they are”, 84% of Travellers disagree with the statement.

Some 95% of the wide colonisation hold the Gardai would dainty you with respect, portion 91% of Travellers bash not judge that Gardai dainty Travellers with respect.

In addition, 75% of Travellers judge that judges bash not dainty Travellers with respect.

The Irish Travellers’ Access to Justice (ITAJ) study is funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Irish Research Council nether the Coalesce programme.

The Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Sinead Gibney called the 18-month agelong task a “landmark” survey – successful some its behaviour and findings.

The study utilized a mixed methodology, including a survey, interviews and absorption groups.

The UL researchers besides spoke with 1 successful each 100 Travellers successful Ireland from 25 of the 26 counties.

The probe findings bespeak a request for “radical changes” successful the mode successful which transgression justness institutions prosecute with, perceive, and code Travellers, the authors said.

Ms Gibney said: “This study breaks caller crushed successful speaking with a immense diverseness of Travellers nationally astir their idiosyncratic experiences with our transgression justness strategy arsenic victims of transgression oregon arsenic those accused.

“It is abundantly wide that the narration betwixt Travellers and our transgression justness strategy excessively often starts from a constituent of mistrust, developed implicit decades.

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“This study needs to beryllium work and shared wide and to beryllium utilized arsenic an evidential grounding for reforms, to marque our transgression justness strategy accessible by all.”

Professor Amanda Haynes, from the Department of Sociology astatine UL, said: “To beryllium capable to usage the ineligible process to support your rights, you indispensable archetypal spot that strategy capable to prosecute with it.

“This study shows that Travellers bash not spot the Irish transgression justness strategy to dainty them fairly, and that their mistrust successful grounded successful idiosyncratic and shared experiences of unsatisfactory and sometimes biased attraction astatine the hands of transgression justness professionals, arsenic victims and suspects.

“While Travellers participating successful this probe identified examples of excellence among constabulary and judges, these experiences were described arsenic the objection alternatively than the rule.”

Dr Sindy Joyce, lecturer successful Traveller Studies successful UL’s Department of Sociology, said: “The results of this probe volition travel arsenic nary astonishment to members of the Traveller community, whose experiences and perceptions of the transgression justness process are unequivocally linked to some their individuality arsenic a historically traditionally nomadic community, and their contiguous time presumption arsenic a racialised indigenous taste radical successful Irish society.

“It is of paramount value that this probe is utilized for the payment of Travellers, and to usher the transgression justness strategy successful bringing retired the meaningful alteration it shows is required.”

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