McDonald welcomes Domestic Homicides study
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has welcomed media reports that the Minister for Justice and Equality intends to commission a study into domestic homicide review models. Deputy McDonald has called for the study to focus on the legislative framework required to deliver an independent multi-agency system of review in Ireland.
The Dublin Central TD said:
“The Justice Ministers decision to commission a study into the supports available to victims affected by domestic homicide reviews and the format of domestic homicide reviews in Ireland is welcome. Families of domestic homicide victims want the issue of additional funding supports be placed front and centre. Such funding streams must be multi-annual to provide for adequate resourcing of front line support organisations and enable them to develop services appropriately.
“Sinn Féin recently published a policy paper committing to the introduction of independent statutory multi-agency domestic homicide reviews similar to those already in place in England and Wales, and due to be introduced in the north. Our proposals reflect the system of review called for by domestic violence support services such as Women’s Aid and Safe Ireland and victims’ families.
“Unlike the current Garda led system of review, the process in Britain is independent, with reviews automatically established on a regional basis following a murder in the home. Their reviews include all relevant state agencies, for example social and health services, domestic violence service providers, families of the victims and their friends and work colleagues. Currently, the Gardaí and state agencies like Tusla do not have an information sharing system in place.
“The system of review we are committed to is not a replacement for a criminal investigation or an inquest and does not seek to apportion blame. Independent multi-agency domestic or familial homicide reviews provide invaluable data on the circumstances leading up to the crime and how agencies can improve responses to better protect women from future attacks. This process improves policy development, operational practice and inter-agency cooperation.
“The Justice Minister’s decision to commission a study into the domestic homicide review models in other jurisdictions is welcome. As there is a wealth of research and evidence that the study can draw on its focus should be on the shape of the new legislation required and GDPR implications for inter-agency information sharing. An evaluation of ICT infrastructure of relevant state agencies such as the Gardaí and Tusla should also be undertaken to identify shortfalls and where additional investment is required.
“The Justice Minister must progress this study as a matter of urgency. For my part, I have written to the leaders of all parties to ask that they support the introduction of statutory independent multi-agency domestic homicide reviews.”