President's Forum 2008
Cosc participated in the Forum on Domestic and Sexual Violence hosted by the President, Mary McAleese on October 1st.
Addressing the audience, drawn from a range of organisations and sectors committed to tackling the issue of domestic, sexual and gender based violence, Éimear Fisher, Executive Director of Cosc outlined the Government’s commitment to tackling the issue. "Cosc is here to help reduce domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. Only by working together, within and across organisations, within and across sectors, within a supportive and informed Irish society, can we hope to put up our hands and say ‘stop’," she said.
Cosc has eight separate research programmes in development, examining different elements of the issue to build the most comprehensive picture of domestic, sexual and gender based violence in Ireland. This research will be used to inform awareness activity and to develop a national strategy.
In January 2009, Cosc published its first body of research into Irish attitudes and awareness of domestic, sexual and gender based violence.
Ms Fisher outlined the actions that Cosc is undertaking to identify the extent, nature and attitudes to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence to create a better and deeper understanding of how such crimes can be prevented.
"We can only identify the best way to tackle sexual and domestic violence by taking an evidence based approach and through using robust research. We need to build an accurate picture of the extent of the problem, societal attitudes and we need to know and understand the current system. It is only then we can make informed changes," she said.
"There is very little research on domestic and sexual violence in Ireland. The research which had been done shows a consistent prevalence of this abuse, with very low levels of reporting. It is obvious that people are suffering. This is happening in a country with a high level of committed activity, across a broad range of organisations, working to prevent and respond to these crimes. There are consistent signals that despite this action, the pattern of criminal behaviour is constant."
"We are working with our NGO and State partners to deliver a system that prevents and responds effectively to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. This involves facilitating and co-ordinating existing services, across the system, so that they work in concert together, to give victims the service and help they need. We are drawing on the immense experience that NGO and State service providers possess, to help structure services that support the victim better and expose the perpetrator."