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New report says implementation will be key in government plan to tackle gender-based violence 

Published: Friday, December 02, 2022

The Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women will today launch a new report looking at the government’s plan to tackle domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. Both the Observatory and the government are reporting to the committee of experts tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Istanbul Convention on Violence Against Women.  

The Observatory report commends the government’s Zero Tolerance Strategy on domestic and sexual violence, but says implementation will be key. It particularly highlights the stipulations in the Convention that a gold-standard of data collection by State bodies must be established, and that a minimum of 500 refuge beds are provided throughout the Republic. Currently, there are just 319 refuge beds. The report also says significant reform of the Family Court will be needed to bring it in line with the standards outlined in the Istanbul Convention.  

Chair of the Observatory, Orla O’Connor, said:  

“It’s extremely positive that Ireland is now reporting under the Istanbul Convention. Ireland has made great strides towards fulfilling our obligations under this Convention, including through the government’s new zero tolerance strategy. Nonetheless, there remains much to be done to guarantee the effective implementation of both the Convention and the strategy.” 

The Observatory finds that, because of the diversity of women affected by gender-based violence (GBV), the State must use a diversity of tools, including measures targeted at specific communities, to effectively eliminate such violence.  

Megan Berry, DSGBV Community Worker at Pavee Point, said:  

“Domestic and Sexual violence is no more prevalent in Traveller and Roma communities than settled. However, there are intersectional barriers that Traveller and Roma women face while accessing services and supports such as with Gardaí and the Courts. The Istanbul Convention puts the responsibility on the government to tackle this as part of its plan to eliminate GBV”. 

Eliona Gjecaj, disability advocate and GBV researcher, said:  

“Disabled women are more likely to be subjected to gender-based violence than non-disabled peers, and women with intellectual disabilities are most-at-risk. Government must take an intersectional approach to this, including through obvious steps like making refuge spaces accessible to those with disabilities, and providing training on intersectional issues to justice and service providers”.  

The Observatory report also finds reform of the Family Court is necessary, including by prioritising judicial training to identify GBV, and by prioritising the voice of the child in custody cases.  

The GREVIO committee for monitoring the Istanbul Convention will conduct a visit to Ireland in Spring 2023.  


For comment: Orla O’Connor 

Find here the Observatory’s shadow GREVIO report (under embargo until 2 December): https://www.nwci.ie/images/uploads/IOVAW_GREVIOS.pdf 

For more information, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator sineadn@nwci.ie 

What: National Observatory on Violence Against Women launch shadow GREVIO report 

When:  2 December 2022, 10am to 1pm 

Where: Wood Quay Venue, Dublin 8 


Barry Andrews, Member of the European Parliament from Ireland and substitute Member of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM)  

Orla O’Connor, NWC Director and Chair of the National Observatory on Violence Against Women and Girls. 

Megan Berry, Community Development Worker, Pavee Point  

Eliona Gjecaj, disability advocate researching access to justice for disabled women who have been subjected to gender-based violence  

Justine McCarthy, Irish Times columnist (panel chair) 

Oonagh McPhillips, Secretary General Department of Justice 

Mia Döring, Author, Any Girl: A Memoir of Sexual Exploitation and Recovery 

Chief Superintendent Colm Noonan, Garda National Protective Services Bureau 

Sarah Monaghan, Consent Project Manager at the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 

Mary-Louise Lynch, founder of Survivors Informing Services and Institutions  

Caroline Munyi, Migrant Women’s Health Coordinator, Akidwa 


About NWC  

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters. 

The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.  

We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity. Find out more on www.nwci.ie