Better support needed for victims of female domestic abusers – Mark Ward TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Mental Health Mark Ward TD has said the Government must do more to support victims of women who commit domestic violence.
In response to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Teachta Ward, the Minister for Justice has revealed that only male abusers are accepted on to state-funded domestic violence prevention programmes.
Teachta Ward raised this matter with Minister Roderic O’Gorman at today's meeting of the Committee for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration
Teachta Ward said:
“Domestic abuse is sadly all too common in our society and not enough is being done to prevent abuse and support victims.
“Domestic violence can take many forms and exist in many types of relationships. While domestic violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by male abusers, it can also be committed by women.
“In response to my Parliamentary Question, the Minister for Justice revealed to me that the domestic violence prevention programme 'Choices' only accepts male abusers. There is currently no facility or programme for female abusers to be referred.
“This is deeply concerning and I am calling on the Government to explain the rationale behind this. Abuse committed by female abusers is a serious issue which must be taken as seriously as abuse committed by men.
“Indeed, victims of female abusers can often face particular stigma due to the violence not fitting into society’s understanding of abuse and so can need particular support in coming forward for help. We have a duty as a society to ensure proper support is in place for all victims.
“The Government must clarify why it has made this decision. The Minister must also outline what her Department is doing to support victims of female abusers.
“I also raised this matter with Minister Roderic O’Gorman at today's meeting of the committee for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, as there was additional funding allocated for victims of domestic violence. A programme like 'Choices' for female abusers is needed.
“No victims of domestic violence should be allowed to fall through the cracks, simply because their experience falls outside the traditional stereotypes of how abuse occurs. Every victim deserves to be believed and supported.”
Note to editor:
Click here to the view the PQ and response in full.