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Question

155. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will report on the progress of the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence; if she will also report on the work to date to ensure the victims directive may be transposed before the deadline of November; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20216/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): It is my intention is to seek Government approval for Ireland to sign the Istanbul Convention in the coming months. This is a matter of priority for me.
My Department has been working with other Government Departments and agencies to establish precisely the actions which would need to be taken in order to ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention. The advice of the Attorney General has been sought in relation to legislative amendments which might be necessary. I expect to receive the Attorney's advice shortly.
I intend to include the actions necessary for ratification of the Istanbul Convention in the new National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence. I expect to publish the strategy, which will cover a multi-year period from 2015, in the coming months.
In addition, I will shortly bring the General Scheme of a consolidated bill on domestic violence to Government which will strengthen protections in relation to such violence.
Work on the General Scheme of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill is at an advanced stage in my Department. The Bill will strengthen the rights of victims of crime and their families and will transpose into Irish law EU Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. I hope to bring to bring the Scheme of the Bill to Government for approval to publish before the end of this Dáil term. As part of the development of the Scheme of the Bill, I have held two very successful round table meetings with firstly, the leaders of organisations in the Justice Sector and then, on 19 May, with those representing victims. The views of all parties will be considered in the context of the final drafting of the Heads. The Justice Sector agencies are also working to ensure the appropriate administrative procedures will be in place by the transposition deadline.