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NWC welcomes first GREVIO report evaluating Ireland on violence against women

Published: Monday, November 13, 2023

The National Women’s Council (NWC) has said the report from the Council of Europe’s expert committee on tackling violence against women, GREVIO, is very welcome, as violence against women in the country is at epidemic levels. The report, which received input from a broad spectrum of Irish civil society via the Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women, identifies serious shortcomings in how women and children are protected from violence and murder.

GREVIO echoes the Observatory in welcoming the Third National (Zero Tolerance) Strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. Like the Observatory, GREVIO also highlight a number of positive legal and policy measures that have been taken by the Irish government and its agencies  in the past decades, and echoes previous Observatory recommendations to collect far more data, to develop robust monitoring mechanisms, to improve legislation, to reform the Court system, and to educate children and young people  about the underlying societal attitudes which underpin gender-based violence.

NWC Director Orla O’Connor said:

“It’s crucial to have an international body like GREVIO to hold the government to account. While we know the government’s Zero Tolerance Strategy is an excellent starting point, we are still far from being a society where women and girls live free from violence.

We are concerned that in family law courts the survivors’ experiences and needs are not sufficiently considered and addressed. We’re also concerned that there is very little reliable data being collected, and that groups such as women in prostitution, Traveller women, and migrant women face additional barriers in accessing supports.”

Like the Observatory, GREVIO is seriously concerned that domestic violence is not always taken into account when determining access and custody cases in the Family Courts. They identified a lack of training and the use of the unscientific ‘parental alienation’ concept, which contributes to minimising or even ignoring the violence perpetrated.

GREVIO also identifies gaps in data collection, saying that official figures are insufficient, disjointed and incomparable and they do not provide an overall picture of the prevalence of domestic violence and other forms of violence against women. They further highlighted that there is no co-ordinated, multi-agency response mechanism for most forms of violence against women; the leniency of sentencing for sexual crimes; the obligation on therapists to share notes with the Court; and the legacy of impunity for women who spent time in Mother and Baby Homes or Magdalene Laundries. These are all issues highlighted in the Observatory report.

Overall, GREVIO underlines the need to bridge the gap between the progressive policies and legislation that Ireland has enacted and the reality on the ground. To achieve this goal the full resourcing and implementation of the third national strategy is necessary, complemented by the establishment of a new agency tasked with tackling domestic, sexual and gender based violence.


For comment:  Orla O’Connor

The Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women will publish a monitoring report on the government’s Third National (Zero Tolerance) Strategy on 8 December. Sign up for the launch here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/launch-monitoring-report-on-the-third-national-strategy-tickets-731215714887

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

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. 

This year we celebrate 50 years since our foundation with a special calendar of events and campaigns. 

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