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Ireland needs to set the standard on tackling violence against women

Published: Friday, December 07, 2018

One in five women still experience domestic abuse in Ireland. 9 out of 10 women killed are killed by someone known to them, with 56% killed by a partner or ex-partner.

The Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women, an independent network of 18 grassroots and national organisations working together to improve Ireland’s response to violence against women today held an important seminar, to mark 16 Days of Action. The event heard calls on the Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention, and to ensure a strong community monitoring of Ireland’s compliance with the Convention, to ensure the Convention works for women.

Mary-Louise Lynch, representative of Intimate Abuse Intervention, a group of intimate abuse victims said,

“This year has seen an avalanche of women sharing their stories and experiences of abuse and control, with a wave of women speaking out both internationally and in Ireland.”

“There is no better source of information for State agencies working to end violence against women than the lived experience of women who have experienced domestic and sexual violence. It is crucial that survivor experience influences and shapes policy and practice with state agencies responsible for tackling intimate abuse and violence against women and children.”

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) and Chair of the Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women said,

“The sheer number of women speaking out about their experiences of abuse has changed the context in Ireland, and there is an increased urgency among Government and State agencies to tackle the violence against women crisis. Yet while there has been progress, such as the new offence of coercive control commencing in January, we are desperately missing a strategic approach to tackling violence against women.”

“The comprehensive framework to tackle violence against women is provided for under the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, or the Istanbul Convention, as it is more commonly known. Ireland signed the Convention in November 2015, yet we have not yet ratified it.”

“Implementing the Istanbul Convention is an opportunity to bring about the systematic and institutional change needed to facilitate the protection of women and the accountability of perpetrators, and is critical if we are to match our response to the scale and the complexity of violence against women. It is no longer acceptable for women to receive such a weak State response to the scale of the issue and to the different experiences of the most disadvantaged groups of women.”

“What we need is real political leadership on this issue. The Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan must outline the steps that he will take to ensure that Ireland ratifies the convention without delay, and furthermore, that we meet the standard of the Convention.”

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