Noeline Blackwell, CEO Dublin Rape Crisis centre, addresses meeting of APT members, 10 December 2018.

APT members gathered at the Religious Sisters of Charity Congregation’s house in Donnybrook for the final meeting of the year were enthused and inspired by Noeline Blackwell, CEO, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, who addressed the meeting on Monday, 10 December last.

Drawing upon her professional experiences as a human rights lawyer, an advocate for people on the margins and defender of victims of rape and violence, Noeline wove together the strands that connect victims of violence and crime, regardless of their status, be they victims of abuse, domestic violence or human trafficking. 

Situating the crime of Human Trafficking within the ambit of Human Rights, Noeline methodically unraveled the complexities of society that is seemingly complacent in the face of the crimes which deny the dignity of the human person. 

The presentation informed our understandings of the concept of ‘consent’ and the fundamental role of communication underpinning all relationships. In particular, an analysis of four core principles of Dignity, Equality, Active participation and Not abusing power emphasised the reality that very few acts of prostitution meet these standards and the crime of Human Trafficking is devoid of any such principles. 

Noeline emphasised the fact that the forthcoming Domestic Violence legislation (Irl. 2019, 1 January) will create a new and improved mindset where apart altogether from physical abuse, we accept also that one cannot abuse a person emotionally and psychologically.   

Working back from first principles, based on the dignity of the human person, equality, power and consideration, Noeline emphasised the need to develop the exit routes out of exploitation, stating the law sets the framework for civilised behaviour and what society tolerates. The presentation ended on a positive note, with Noeline sharing the view that Ireland is now in a liminal space, where we are on the threshold of affording people the opportunity for public discourse and in so doing, opens up avenues of awareness, understanding and pro-activity. As a result, our society will become more global in its thinking and can act accordingly. 

We look forward to continuing the conversation at the forthcoming APT national conference, on 1 March, 2019. For information and to reserve a place, please email  


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