Fair City’s Ciara O’Callaghan wants changes to rape laws after seeing why people who are raped don’t press charges.
Her character Yvonne was brutally raped by internet predator Martin Baxter and has finally taken it to the courts.
But Ciara was shocked to discover the defence can request notes from counselling sessions to paint her as a “terrible person” in court which sees the victim finding “themselves put on trial”.
She said: “Yvonne is mentally strong and prepared as well as she can be but then she was told that Martin wanted her counselling notes before the trial.
“She felt that was so unfair, those were her private thoughts and it would dredge up things from her past that she wants to forget. And it had nothing to do with what happened that night.
“She didn’t have to hand it over, but it’d look bad if she didn’t. It really through her and put her in a bad place, making her very anxious.
“As an actress I was quite shocked to learn from the Rape Crisis Centre that this was actually allowed.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why so many people who’ve been raped don’t go through with the court case, because they find themselves being put on trial.
“It’s the only serious crime where that happens. Yvonne is supposed to be the victim here. Unfortunately, because we’re dealing with a real subject, it’s harrowing to hear that”.
But Ciara told the RTE Guide that show bosses have gone out of their way to make sure that they aren’t “exploitative”.
She said: “The writers have done an excellent job of showing what a rape victim is put through in court.
“It’s a fictional story but a real-life situation so we have to be very careful: there’s a responsibility not to be exploitative.
“It has to be dealt with sensitively. I know the Rape Crisis Centre has been in contact with the production team throughout. It’s very important to get it right.”