Failure to protect domestic violence victims highlighted

25 Nov 2013

The Domestic Violence Coalition of ten frontline organisations in Ireland is marking the 16 Days of Action with a warning that people are feeling trapped in violent relationships because of the failure of Irish immigration law to offer proper protections.

The Coalition is warning that victims are not coming forward because of fears it could impact on their ability to remain in the country.

The coalition also highlights shortfalls in the provision of emergency accommodation and welfare support to victims and is calling for promised Dáil hearings on the issue to commence.

It has identified four key areas requiring action:

  • The need to formally recognise domestic violence in immigration law
  • Reform of current administrative practices – including the removal of the burden of the €300 annual registration fee with the Garda National Immigration Bureau
  • The provision of safe emergency accommodation as well as welfare benefits
  • That the Irish government sign and ratify the Council Of Europe Convention on Combating and Preventing Violence against Women and Domestic Violence as a matter of urgency

The members of the coalition are Womens Aid, Adapt Domestic Abuse Services, Doras Luimní, Nasc – the Irish Immigrant Support Centre, the Domestic Violence Advocacy Service Sligo, Akidwa, Longford Women’s Link, Sonas Housing,the Immigrant Council of Ireland and Ascend Domestic Abuse Service.

Speaking on behalf of the coalition, Brian Killoran of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said:

“It is clear that there are people who feel trapped in violent relationships because of fears that their status in Ireland is dependent on their spouse. In recent years our frontline services at the Immigrant Council alone assisted in 54 cases where domestic violence was a factor, through our work we are also aware of other incidents where victims are being supported by others.

The Coalition has made a written submission to the Oireachtas Justice Committee which includes draft wording for future legislation which would provide increased protections and recognise the plight of victims in law.”

Rabiya Ali of Ascend Domestic Abuse Service added “We welcome the willingness of the Oireachtas Committee to examine this issue and are asking members to ensure that its consideration of the issues involved is conducted in a timely manner in order to offer hope to victims.

The ten organisations which have united to highlight this issue remain available to assist TD’s and Senators in their deliberations.”