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Lynn Boylan MEP calls for action on eliminating violence against women

25 November, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Lynn Boylan, Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin, has commended women’s rights activists across Ireland for taking part in the global ‘16 Days of Action’ to stop violence against women. The 16 days begin today on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and end on 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Ms Boylan said: “The level of violence against women in Ireland is simply unacceptable in 2015. One in five women in Ireland has experienced physical or sexual violence. One in five women have been abused by a current or former partner at some stage in their lives.

“Awareness campaigns such as the 16 Days of Action are vital in challenging the still too common attitude in the community that violence against women is a family or social issue, as opposed to a criminal issue.

“But we need far more than that. I welcome the Irish government’s signing of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women earlier this month, but I am frankly dismayed by the fact that the government dragged its heels on doing so for so long, making Ireland one of the last member states in the EU to sign up.

“It was forced to act only after a scathing report on Ireland’s record on women’s rights by the United Nations and a strong campaign for ratification led by organisations such as the National Women’s Council of Ireland, Women’s Aid and Amnesty International.

“The Istanbul Convention criminalises forced marriage, female genital mutilation, stalking and physical, psychological and sexual violence. It outlines the need for the provision of 24-hour shelters, medical care, helplines and legal aid for survivors.

“Now that the government has signed the Convention, its ratification and implementation must be given the highest priority.

“For example, the Convention states that there should be one family refuge per 10,000 of the population, a target Ireland is far behind. We only have one-third of this number, and government cuts to local services are exacerbating the situation when instead we need to see a serious financial commitment.

“We also need to see the Garda granted increased powers to issue emergency barring orders from the family home against a perpetrator of violence to provide immediate protection to the victim.

“During these 16 Days of Action, my Sinn Féin colleagues and I across the country will be raising awareness in the community on the need for the swift ratification and implementation of the best practice outlined in the Convention, and the need for a thoroughgoing change in attitudes among all sectors of the community.” ENDS

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