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Tánaiste must make Domestic Violence an offence – Ó Laoghaire

18 May, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has strongly criticised the decision by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to not make domestic violence an offence under the new Domestic Violence Bill.

The Cork South-Central TD said:

“It strikes me as somewhat bizarre that the Tánaiste has opted to not include specific measures making domestic violence against a partner an offence.

“Ireland for many years had a taboo around domestic violence, and to some extent incidents of domestic violence still go under-reported.

“I’m sure the Tánaiste is not intentionally compounding a certain stigma that still exists but her decision does not encourage those who fall victim to domestic violence to feel more confident in coming forward.

“It is important to emphasise that assault and domestic violence are not necessarily one and the same, and does not encompass abuses other than those of a physical nature.

“I understand the DPP has said that domestic abuse and ordinary assault are hard to define, presumably in a legislative sense, but it is our responsibility as legislators to navigate this.

“I would ask that the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice reconsider, and take on board the concerns of many stakeholders.

“Additionally, in my capacity as Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs, I echo the calls of Women’s Aid that courts must consider any history of domestic violence when they make orders for access to children.” 

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