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Domestic Violence Bill welcomed but gaps remain – Dunne

20 August, 2015 - by Louise Dunne

Tallaght Sinn Féin Councillor Louise Dunne has welcomed the recently published heads of the Domestic Violence Bill. However, Cllr Dunne has said that there are still gaps in the legislation that must be addressed.

Speaking today, Cllr Dunne said:

“Current figures show that 1 in 5 women in Ireland experience domestic violence. The existing legislative framework needed to be amended and the new bill will go some of the way in helping to achieve the zero-tolerance approach that is needed.

“Sinn Féin welcomes the new measures enhancing the protection and support for victims when going to court, as well other enhanced measures such as the provisions providing for an order to prevent the perpetrator from following or communicating with the victim.

“However, many of the victims who take the courageous step and present themselves at court seeking a protection, safety or barring order often leave without the protection they need. There are still legislative gaps that must be addressed. It is regrettable that this bill does not address many of the related abuse issues that face younger women in dating relationships, for example through the establishment of stalking as a criminal offence. Also, further protection must be afforded to those seeking emergency barring orders. The legislative framework must be the as strong as possible to ensure that judges have clear and robust guidelines from which to work from which, in turn, will allow for conformity across the justice system in dealing with such cases.

“I will be working closely with my colleague, Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Justice and Equality, Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, as well as women’s and domestic violence victims advocacy groups across the island, to review the bill in more detail over the coming weeks and to ensure that amendments are made to fill the gap, giving victims of domestic violence the strongest possible protection under law.

“It is not acceptable that in some cases society, and our justice system, treat domestic violence as a domestic issue rather than a criminal one. This bill presents an opportunity for this state to get tough on domestic violence and work towards the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.” 

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