Statements on Combatting Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence

 

Dáil Éireann -  Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee; TD

 

Check against Delivery

 

19 November 2020

 

 

I very much welcome the opportunity to make a statement here today on combatting domestic, sexual and Gender Based Violence, which is an area of work I have prioritised since my appointment as Minister for Justice.  This Government is fully committed to combatting Domestic Violence in all its forms and to ensuring that anyone who is a victim of this most heinous type of abuse is empowered and supported to come forward to seek help.

 

This is evident in our Programme for Government commitments, it is evident in the considerations taken into account as priorities in the context of managing the pandemic and it is evident in the work being undertaken as a priority within my Department and in conjunction with other Departments, agencies and stakeholders.  Since I became Minister for Justice, I have sought to engage as much as possible with those working across the sector and with victims.  Unfortunately, due to the Covid restrictions, that has not been as easy as I would have liked.

 

I would like to assure those who do fantastic work with victims and those who have advocated for change and reform in this area that, as restrictions are lifted, I am determined to meet you in person and in your workplaces, where you do so much good.  However, a number of things have become clear in the engagements I have had so far, such as when I met with Victim’s Helpline this month. One of those is that public information campaigns do make a difference.

 

Requests for help from victims and those in vulnerable situations increase when information campaigns are underway: when there are advertisements in television, radio, social media and elsewhere.  We have said on a number of occasions throughout the pandemic that even as we asked people to stay at home because of the restrictions, we know that home is not necessarily a safe place for all of us.

 

The ‘Still Here’ campaign is about getting the message out that services continue to be available to victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, and that Covid travel restrictions not apply to persons who are in a domestic abuse situation and are seeking help.   Further information on the organisations involved is on the website www.stillhere.ieWe are also midway through the ‘No Excuses’ campaign, the Department of Justice’s national awareness campaign to tackle domestic and sexual violence. 

The campaign is a key action of the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021 and its aims are:

 

 

ENDS