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Political leadership needed to end men’s violence against women

Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

NWC calls for political action ahead of Dáil statements

The National Women’s Council (NWC) has called for meaningful change to ensure a massive culture shift in violence against women in advance of the Dáil statements and the Sinn Fein Private Members Bill, and said that there must be no more broken promises. 

NWC Director, Orla O’Connor said, 

“The collective outpouring of grief and anger that has taken place since the senseless killing of Ashling Murphy has led to calls for political action to finally end men’s violence against women. Women are today saying very clearly that we need real political leadership, and no more broken promises. At the highest level, we need one Government department with responsibility for ending gender-based violence. The current piecemeal approach is failing women; we need one Minister with overall responsibility for violence against women sitting at the Cabinet table.”

“It is absolutely crucial that we provide greater resources for women who experience gender-based violence and for our frontline services. Alongside this, we need to make it easier for women to report domestic and sexual violence. In practice, that means a system of wrap-around supports from the moment women come forward to seek support and disclose abuse. We know from the numbers of women who contact the frontline services that both domestic and sexual violence is happening to a much greater degree than what is in any official records. if we are serious about tackling violence against women, then we need reliable and accurate data on gender-based violence to fully understand its nature, prevalence and extent.”

Orla O’Connor continued, 

“Ultimately, it is important today that our conversations focus on prevention, on creating a zero-tolerance culture towards misogyny and sexism that permeates our society and creates the context in which gender-based violence occurs. This means, for example, changing our curriculum to include compulsory programmes in primary, secondary level that all schools must teach, it means bringing these programmes into our sporting institutions and youth services and transforming our third level institutions to adopt a zero-tolerance approach. It means policy change in our education system to ensure the casual sexism that girls and women experience is unacceptable. It means stronger legislation towards street harassment, and stronger enforcement toward harassment in the workplace.” 

Orla O’Connor concluded,

“The Government has the opportunity to bring about transformative change for women in its new National Strategy for Domestic Sexual and Gender-based Violence to be launched this year. We need ambition, and we need leadership. We need to ensure women are safe in our homes and in our communities and that we no longer have to limit our lives for fear of male violence. Now is the moment we must create a society where violence against women is unacceptable and abhorrent to all of us.”

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For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Coordinator, 0858619087.