Increased jail sentences for abusers and paedophiles

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On October 27, 2015, Gerry Hopkins climbed into his daughter's bed while she and her friend were sleeping. He leaned over his 6 year old daughter and subjected her friend, the victim, to a prolonged sexual assault. She woke up and pretended to be asleep but cried out when he began to hurt her. He waited until she stopped crying to continue to assault her. It lasted for 30 minutes. When the authorities were made aware of the assault, the child was stripped naked, examined and questioned by strangers.

This monster has been given a 5 year (2 suspended) sentence for his abhorrent crime. Three years, which he probably won't serve in full. Then he gets to go home, do some rehabilitation and forget about it. The girl's innocence and trust in the world is gone. Young girls don't stay young forever. She will remember this attack, it will affect her every day.

Sentences like these are all too common within our justice system. Suspended sentences, probation, community service, fines and rehabilitation. The punishment is not befitting the crime. The same can be said for drink-driving offences where someone has been killed. There are no guidelines for a vast majority of offences in Ireland, except for drug trafficking and murder. Even in these cases, judges don't always impose the minimum sentence of 10 years for trafficking and the average time spent in prison for a life sentence is just 22 years.

This was a serious crime, and it hasn't been given serious enough repercussions. What is stopping paedophiles from abusing children when they know they are going to get off lightly? There needs to be stricter sentencing guidelines introduced in Ireland, longer sentences for more serious crimes and judges need to abide by these and make sure that justice has actually been served.

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