Sinn Fein TD for Kilkenny Carlow
Sinn Féin spokesperson on children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has called on the government to do more to meet the needs of victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence.
Today marks the start of the International 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, an annual event that calls for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
Teachta Funchion said:
“The recent publication of the Council of Europe GREVIO Committee’s report into Ireland found the State is not meeting its obligation in regard to the provision of legal aid for victim of domestic, sexual and gender based violence (DSGBV).
“They called for an expansion of eligibility to existing legal aid particularly for civil proceedings and that it is available as early on at reporting and investigation stage. The extension of offences for which victims can apply for legal aid was also a key call in their observations.
“I would echo calls by NGOs here in Ireland that we must heed GREVIO’s calls around the urgent need for collective and cohesive data collection. We know that levels of domestic, sexual and gender based violence are growing, however our understanding of this devastating upward trend is limited due to the lack of data.
“Ireland must begin the work of comprehensively mapping the nature and extent of violence against women and girls so we are better equipped to prevent and intervene where it is most effective.
“The Third National Strategy was welcomed by Sinn Féin, yet eighteen months have passed since its publication and only now is the Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Agency Bill 2023 reaching amendment stage in the Dáil. Reform is glacial.
“Nine counties, including in my own constituency of Carlow are without a refuge, others include: Cavan, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon and Sligo. Whilst they do have domestic violence support services, it’s the lack of services for vulnerable women and girls that is stark and completely unacceptable.”