25 November, 2014
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD & the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, have today marked the start of the ‘16 Days of Action’ to raise awareness about gender-based violence.
The 16 Days Campaign is an international campaign that started in 1991. The Campaign runs from 25th November, UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10th December, Human Rights Day.
An Taoiseach stated: “I condemn all forms of domestic and sexual violence. As a society we must work to challenge any cultural acceptance of, or blindness to this violence in all sections of our society. There is no ‘typical victim’, no ‘typical case’. Violence against women is a complex problem with many faces.
"I call on everyone, especially men, to support the women in their lives, including partners, mothers, sisters and friends, if they disclose that they are victims of domestic or sexual violence.
"We must go on in our efforts to change and influence attitudes. It is the intention of this Government to introduce a new National Strategy on domestic and sexual violence to succeed the first strategy which ran from 2010 to 2014."
Minister Fitzgerald stated: “I have often commented that gender-based and sexual violence is amongst the most devastating of human experiences. The stark reality is that this type of violence doesn’t go away. It persists as a dark stain on our humanity.”
“I have also consistently advocated the need for all of us to work to ensure that no barrier, no hesitation, no doubt ever comes in the way of reporting suspicions or concerns regarding the occurrence or risk of sexual, domestic or gender based abuse.
“I welcome the ‘16 Days of Action’ as a timely opportunity to raise awareness of evils of gender-based violence and of the need for all those with concerns regarding such violence to report their concerns to the civil authorities.”
Minister Fitzgerald reaffirmed her commitment to comprehensively strengthening Ireland’s approach to preventing and responding to all forms of domestic and sexual violence.
The Minister stated:” I intend to publish the draft heads of a consolidated and reformed Domestic Violence Bill in the New Year to address all aspects of domestic violence, threatened violence and intimidation”
The Minister explained that this new Bill, coupled with the planned new National Strategy on domestic and sexual violence, will pave the way for Ireland to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, commonly called the Istanbul Convention.
The Minister added that: “the ‘‘16 Days of Action’ campaign should also remind us of the need to put the victim at the heart of our policies on tackling violence as well as at the centre of our criminal justice system.”
“It is my intention to legislate for victims’ rights and to ensure the implementation in Ireland during 2015 of the EU Victims Directive.”
Minister Fitzgerald concluded by announcing that she will be making a further announcement later this week in relation to the Heads of a new Sexual Offences Bill.