Cahill welcomes publication of government strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence
Senator Mairia Cahill has today welcomed the publication of the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021 by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD.
“I welcome the publication today of a national strategy to deal with the very serious issues of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence over the next five years. Abuse permeates all levels of Irish society and it is very welcome to see the Minister and the Government prioritising the issue. The strategy aims not only to reduce incidents of these terrible crimes by changing societal attitudes towards them, but also to ensure that adequate supports are provided to victims and that perpetrators are held to account.
“This strategy is, importantly, victim-centred. It highlights the devastating impact that such violence can have on victims, and the importance that a wide range of supports are available to enable victims to access the individual services that they need – whether that be counselling, information services, emotional support or accommodation services. The strategy was developed in conjunction with the many community and voluntary organisations that provide these supports, and it is crucial that the views of these groups, who do such vital work, have been taken on board.
“The strategy also recognises that many victims experience secondary victimisation through their experiences of the criminal justice system. I welcome the aspects of the strategy that aim to improve this – through further training to legal professionals, increasing the accessibility of the courts to victims, and the range of measures that are to be introduced by An Garda Siochána, such as the implementation of a risk assessment for all victims of domestic violence and sexual crime.
“I also welcome that €950,000 will be made available for the rolling out of a national awareness raising campaign. This campaign will seek to increase recognition and understanding of the incidence of domestic and sexual violence among the general public, hopefully leading to a reduction in the level of abuse, increased reporting by victims, and better awareness amongst perpetrators of the strong sanctions they will face.
“When I was elected to the Seanad last November, I said that I would work to highlight the issues of sexual, domestic and gender-based violence in the Seanad, within the Labour Party, and at the highest levels of Government. I will continue to do so and I am pleased that this Government has been proactive on this very serious issue.”