NWC calls for stronger role for civil society and survivors in new Agency on DSGBV
Published: Monday, April 17, 2023
The National Women’s Council (NWC) will tell the Oireachtas Justice Committee tomorrow (Tuesday) that the government’s new statutory agency on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV) must include a strong role for survivors, for civil society, and for other government agencies.
The government is currently bringing forward the General Scheme of the Domestic, Sexual, and Gender Based Violence Agency Bill as part of its Zero Tolerance Strategy on violence against women.
NWC Director Orla O’Connor said:
“The Third National Strategy on Domestic Sexual and Gender Based Violence acknowledged the key role of civil society organisations and survivors in tackling violence against women and the importance of policy co-design between civil society and government. However, this is not reflected in the proposed bill which includes only a consultative role for civil society organisations.”
NWC is calling for this Bill, which underpins the agency, to explicitly ensure collaboration with civil society and victim-survivors at every stage of the performance of its functions, including guidelines, protocols, resources, funding and training of professionals. NWC is also calling for the Board of the Agency to be comprised of at least 2 members of civil society organisations. We further call for the full composition of the Board to reflect the diverse needs and experiences of all women survivors of DSGBV, including Traveller and Roma women, migrant women and disabled women. This would provide for a more effective role for civil society - including victim-survivors of gender-based violence.
NWC is also recommending that the Bill be amended to provide for greater collaboration with other government agencies. Without this, we risk perpetuating the current system of fragmentation of policy development and service delivery competencies between different agencies, as well as dispersal of responsibilities across multiple government departments. It is critical that the current bill is amended to provide for an agency that can support the delivery of a comprehensive and coherent whole of government approach to tackle DSGV. Therefore, NWC is calling for the Bill to ensure that the Agency has all such powers as are necessary for the performance of its functions to oblige all public service bodies to fulfil obligations under agreed DSGBV strategies, policy and legislation.
For comment: Orla O’Connor or Ivanna Youtchak
Find here our Opening Statement to the Justice Committee
Find here NWC’s submission to the Department of Justice on the DSGBV agency
For more information, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator, 085 8619087 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What: National Women’s Council at the Oireachtas Justice Committee
When: Tuesday 18 April at 3pm
Where: Dáil Éireann/ oireachtas.ie
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