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Government failed to put domestic violence on EU political agenda

21 June, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Responding to Safe Ireland’s One-Day Survey of domestic violence Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has slammed Fine Gael and Labour for failing to put domestic violence squarely on the political agenda of all EU member states during Ireland’s Presidency.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Safe Ireland’s one day survey published today reports that 500 women and 300 children sought domestic violence services on a single day late last year. Girls as young as sixteen are contacting Safe Ireland in need of supports and services.

“A global study published by World Health Organisation starkly sets out the prevalence of violence towards women and girls across societies.

“A third of women living in Europe will experience violence at some point in their lives. That is an astonishing and unacceptable statistic, yet Ireland has yet to even sign the European Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.

“Ireland’s Presidency of the EU was an opportunity for the government to put domestic violence squarely on the political agenda of all member states. This did not happen.

“Let’s not forget the Programme for Government commits to the introduction of consolidated and reformed domestic violence legislation. When questions are raised about when we can expect the legislation the Justice Minister tells us that he has other legislative priorities.

“Shamefully Alan Shatter has cited property rights as a barrier to introducing a 24/7 on call system for emergency barring orders, whilst women and their children seeking refuge from violence and abuse continue to be turned away because of a lack of spaces available.

“Governments across Europe and beyond refuse to say out loud that a cultural shift and multi-disciplinary solutions are required to end the prevalence of violence against women and children in society.

“Women may no longer be locked up in laundries or children beaten in brutal institutions but it is clear that the government has not truly learnt from the mistakes of those in power before them.”


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