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Sinn Féin Dublin TD supports 16 Days of Action Against Violence Against Women Campaign

30 November, 2007

Speaking at this mornings from City Hall at a Sinn Féin event in support of the 16 Days Campaign Sinn Féin Dublin TD and Community Safety Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh said:

"We are here to mark the annual 16 Days of Action Against Violence Against Women by taking a little practical action as elected representatives ourselves in the form of a motion to Dublin City Council. Earlier this year the Sinn Féin team in Leinster House used its private members time to move a comprehensive motion tackling domestic violence. On that occasion we focused on the responsibilities and opportunities for action by central government. On Monday the Sinn Féin team in Dublin City Council will table a motion focusing on the primary responsibilities of the local authority. Louise will speak on that motion in a moment.

"In the Dáil we have been calling for a range of measures including legislative reform, secure and increased funding for frontline service providers and the introduction of an effective and consistent sanctioning system for domestic violence offenders. This is essential if offenders are to be held accountable for their crimes and if the incidence of such crimes is to be reduced.

"The Gardaí and DPP should treat domestic violence as they would other violent crimes. Wherever possible they should build cases to try crimes of domestic violence on indictment. Indictable offences have much weightier penalties attached than is the case where offenders are merely pursued for breaching a civil protection/safety order. Or where in the first instance an application for an order is the sole justice response to crimes of violence which have already been committed.

"But domestic violence is only one small aspect of the full spectrum of violence against women.

"Another form of violence effecting predominantly women and children is human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Passage of the long overdue Human Trafficking Bill is finally underway in the Dáil.

"Sinn Féin are tabling amendments to that Bill in an effort to ensure that no gaps are left in terms of the new offence created and to introduce protections for victims which will be vital not only to the recovery of victims but also to future successful prosecutions.

"I have asked the government chief whip to move that Bill along by scheduling the final stage to take place on the week beginning December 10th. It would be fitting to mark the conclusion of this year's 16 Days of Action by passing this urgently needed Bill." ENDS

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