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‘Speed up legislation on domestic violence’ call

20 Jan 2023 / human rights Print

‘Speed up legislation on domestic violence’ call

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has called on the Government to progress legislation on familicide and domestic homicide “without delay”, after what it described as an “alarming rise” in the number of women killed in Ireland in 2022.

The call came in a submission to the Group of Experts on Action Against Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO).

GREVIO is the independent expert body responsible for monitoring the implementation of a Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention.

A GREVIO team will visit Ireland later this month, after a report submitted by the State in answer to GREVIO’s queries on its human-rights responsibilities under the Istanbul agreement last August.

The convention, the first legally binding instrument aimed at combating violence against women and girls, entered into force in August 2014.

Paid leave

“While the State has commissioned an independent study into familicide and domestic homicide reviews, it has yet to progress legislation in this area despite a commitment in the 2020 Programme for Government,” IHREC said.

IHREC has made over 100 recommendations to Government in advance of the GREVIO visit.

While the commission has welcomed Government plans to introduce paid leave for victims and survivors of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls (DSGBV), it wants a proposed five-day provision to be increased to ten over a 12-month period.

IHREC has also called for a national campaign to highlight the specific forms of DSGBV to which disabled women and girls are subjected.

Data collection

The human-rights body also wants violence perpetrated by residents or carers in settings such as public and private nursing homes and mental-health institutions to be recognised as domestic violence.

Other recommendations include:

  • The development of appropriate data collection, awareness-raising and training measures to ensure widespread knowledge of the existence and availability of the offence of coercive control,
  • A gender-specific and trauma-informed approach to the provision of specific accommodation for victims of human trafficking,
  • The development of a “comprehensive statistical database” containing “robust data” on DSGBV from different administrative sources, in order to address its concerns about the quality of existing data.
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