Launch of Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021
On Wednesday 20 January 2016 Ms. Frances Fitzgerald T.D., Minister for Justice and Equality, launched the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and gender-based Violence 2016 - 2021 and Action Plan which was agreed by the Government on the 13 January 2016.
The strategy, building on its predecessor, which concluded in 2014, envisages a range of actions to be implemented by State, voluntary and community sector organisations aimed at preventing and responding to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
In developing the strategy, Cosc – the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence – has engaged in extensive consultations with a wide range of State and non-State stakeholders. The Minister held two consultative forums with stakeholders to identify and finalise priorities. The strategy is a result of this work and it contains a range of actions, both legislative and administrative, to be implemented over it’s lifetime.
Ultimately the vision for the second national strategy is to make Ireland a safer place. It is structured around three high level goals:
i) Prevention, which includes awareness raising, training and education;
ii) Services to victims and holding perpetrators to account; and
iii) in support of these goals, data gathering, monitoring and research.
The Minister recognised the role of An Garda Síochána and other agencies in the criminal justice system are crucial to the success of the strategy. Among the strategy’s actions for which An Garda Síochána are responsible is the implementation of a risk assessment for all victims of domestic violence and a focus on recidivists of domestic and sexual violence to prevent and detect crime. A planned and managed approach by An Garda Síochána to each report of a domestic violence incident is provided for including personally calling to victims, in depth risk assessment and the provision of information.
The Minister also noted and thanked the voluntary sector for their integral role in the development of the strategy and to its successful delivery.
In addition, the very first action in the second national strategy is the development and implementation of a national awareness campaign to bring about a change in long established societal behaviours and attitudes in relation to domestic and sexual violence, and to activate bystanders with the aim of preventing this violence. The Minister announced she had secured funding of almost €1m to undertake such a campaign in 2016. It is planned to continue the campaign for each of the six years of the strategy.
The Minister pointed to progress made during 2015 in combating domestic, sexual and gender-based violence such as the signing by Ireland of the Istanbul Convention, the publishing of the general scheme of the Domestic Violence Bill, and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill.
Also speaking at the launch of the strategy was Garda Commissioner, Ms Noirín O’Sullivan and the Chief Executive of Tusla, Mr Gordon Jeyes.
Minister Fitzgerald stated, "The Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence reinforces this Government’s ongoing commitment to combat these problems. The overall objective is to make Ireland a safer and better place to live.”
Click here for link to Ministers press release