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Figures show domestic violence victims have little faith in Justice system -- Ó Snodaigh

17 January, 2007

Evidence that domestic violence calls to Women's Aid have risen by 73% while Garda reports of same have fallen by nearly 50% shows failing confidence in the justice system among victims of domestic violence. Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Justice Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD made this claim before the Oireachtas Justice Committee hearings on domestic violence today and called for urgent financial and legislative support for frontline groups dealing with the victims of domestic violence.

The Dublin South-Central TD said: "During the past ten years 109 women were violently killed in Ireland, 72 of these in their own homes. Of the cases that have been concluded just under 50% were killed by their partner or ex-partner. An estimated one in five Irish women have experienced domestic violence.

"However, only a very small number of these women successfully engage with the justice system and rates of under-reporting are worryingly high. Since 2002, calls to the Women's Aid helpline have risen by 73%, while Garda reports have fallen by nearly 50%. This is evidence of falling confidence in the system and also of a Garda failure to maintain adequate records.

"Yet the Government has no strategy to confront this. Rather, it has starved the frontline services working in support of victims of funds needed to support survivors, to help them persevere with the criminal justice process and to work towards preventing domestic violence.

"Sinn Féin believes that there is a need for a major injection of resources into the sector addressing domestic and sexual violence. There is also a need for legislative change as highlighted by the recently published Law Reform Commission report on co-habiting couples.

"I am calling on the government parties to listen carefully to the representations that will be made today by the Dublin 12 Domestic Violence Service, Sexual Violence Centre Cork, OSS Cork, National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency, and Women's Aid, and to take their recommendations with regard to legislative or policy change and funding on board."


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