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Policing and Access to Justice

This research explores the relationship between minority communities and the criminal justice system in Ireland. Access to justice is a fundamental human right protected by a range of international agreements and conventions. Minority communities often experience difficulties in activating these rights. Solutions often focus on providing additional supports, ranging from translation services to assistive technology, depending on the barriers which the community encounters. However, such interventions often operate on the assumption that the communities in question already trust the criminal justice system sufficiently to engage with it. For minority communities, this is not always the case. Studies of relationships between minority communities and the police or legal system characteristically demonstrate lower levels of trust in those institutions on the part of such communities compared to the majority population.

ECSH members are engaged in research and writing projects which examine barriers to and facilitators of access to justice on the part of LGBT communities, Travellers and traditionally nomadic populations, and are developing projects exploring access to justice on the part of people of African descent in Ireland.

The first publication to emerge from this theme was Gendered Policing and Policing Gender: The Trans Community and An Garda Síochánawhich explored the experiences and perceptions of the Irish police from the perspective of the trans community. Dr Amanda Haynes, Dr Jennifer Schweppe, and Dr Sindy Joyce presented findings of their research to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in December 2019, in which they described concerning levels of racial profiling being experienced on the part of racialised and ethnic communities in Ireland. 

This project is part of the ECSH Criminalising Hate theme. It is being led by Dr Amanda Haynes and Dr Jennifer Schweppe, and you can contact them at Amanda.Haynes@ul.ie or Jennifer.Schweppe@ul.ie