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Safe Ireland report paints bleak picture of legal system approach to domestic violence- Lynn Boylan MEP

30 March, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has commented on the Safe Ireland report which demonstrates that on every level the Irish legal system is not working for women and children living with domestic violence and abuse.

Speaking today the Dublin MEP said:

This report is the latest in a long line of reports that highlights the inadequacies, both institutional and cultural, in the Irish approach to tackling domestic violence.

Unfortunately domestic violence is still often being treated as a nuisance rather than a crime, which is at odds with that fact that domestic violence services around the country deal with in excess of 8000 women every year.

“The report makes 34 recommendations and underlining at lot of these recommendations is a need for a multi-strand approach to the problem, which draws on the expertise of all agencies battling this problem.”

Ms Boylan also stated:

“While we wait on the recommendations from the consultation forum on the next National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based violence there are a number of things the government could do immediately.

I would like to once again urge the Irish government to sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention in order to help victims of domestic violence. 

The Convention sets out minimum standards on prevention, protection, prosecution and the development of integrated policies on domestic violence and countries that ratify the treaty are obligated to protect and support victims of such violence.

These countries must also establish services such as emergency phone lines, refuges and shelters, counselling and legal aid. 

Unfortunately many existing domestic violence services are under funding threats and with the housing crisis many women and children simply have nowhere to flee to. Sinn Féin introduced a progressive bill to deal with the specific issue of housing and domestic violence which, recognised the rights of victims of domestic violence to seek rehousing.

The government should reconsider its position and support this Bill while working to implement all the immediate changes it can to make a dent in this problem.”

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