Ireland has ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence (see the related Gazette article on the Istanbul Convention).
The convention is a significant international legal instrument that gives effect to either criminalising or legally sanctioning different forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual harassment and psychological violence.
Justice minister Charlie Flanagan said this morning: “Protecting and supporting victims has been a key priority for this Government.
“Domestic and sexual violence can have devastating consequences for victims, as well as society as a whole. Ratifying the convention delivers on a Government commitment, and sends an important message that Ireland does not tolerate such violence. That message is all the more appropriate, given that today is International Women’s Day.”
Formal ratification took place at a ceremony at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg this morning.
Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland commented: “We welcome Ireland’s ratification as yet more proof of the success of our convention, which helps to prevent violence, helps victims, and ensures that perpetrators are brought to justice.”
Ireland signed the convention in November 2015. While many legislative provisions and administrative practices had already been implemented by Ireland prior to the signing, a number of pieces of legislation were required before formal ratification could take place.
These were identified and included in the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, which was published in January 2016.
Key actions included the training of public-sector officials, the implementation of the Victims Directive and the enactment of key legislation, such as the Victims of Crime Act 2017 and the Domestic Violence Act 2018.
The recent enactment of the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Act 2019 [MARY – we don’t hyperlink the definite article – just the title of the legislation] was the final legislative action required to enable today’s ratification to proceed.
The minister added: “Ratification does not mean the end of our efforts. The Government will continue to work in providing protections to victims of domestic and sexual violence, and holding perpetrators to account. The prevalence of this violence means we cannot lessen our efforts in this regard. Rather, ratification signals a renewal of our commitments.”