Friday 8th March 2019, 10am: Women’s Aid, the national organisation providing frontline support to women experiencing domestic and dating abuse, welcomes the ratification of the Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention). The Istanbul Convention is an innovative and comprehensive measure to combat violence against women. It establishes a framework for governments to ensure robust action to prevent, investigate and prosecute, and ultimately, eliminate violence against women and girls. The Convention defines and criminalises various forms of violence against women (including forced marriage, female genital mutilation, stalking, physical and psychological violence and sexual violence). Governments who have signed and ratified the Convention have to provide helplines, refuges, medical care and legal aid for women who have suffered rape or other forms of violence. The Convention also establishes an international mechanism to monitor its implementation at national level.
Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid, says:
“The ratification of the Istanbul Convention is a major milestone in tackling domestic, sexual and gender based violence. At the heart of any progress there must be the increased safety and protection for women and children affected by domestic violence. Over the last few weeks, Irish society has heard the personal testimonies of women and families who have been impacted and left bereft by domestic abuse and domestic homicide. There is an increased urgency and better understanding of the need to prevent violence and to support those affected to access justice. It’s been a long road to get to this point and there is still much work ahead.”
The Istanbul Convention includes a gender perspective and is framed around the four pillars of Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Monitoring.
Ms Martin says:
“Only effective implementation, including resourcing, will make a very real difference. Today is International Women’s Day and is also the last day of our Too Into You Campaign which started on Valentines’ Day. It is worth remembering that one in five women experience some form of domestic abuse in Ireland and our 24hr National Helpline responds to 50 calls a day. Over the last three weeks nearly 12,000 young women have visited our Dating Abuse website. I am proud of how Women’s Aid has delivered over the last decade on Prevention and Protection with very limited resources.”
However, urgent movement is need in the effective State prosecution of crimes against women. Ms Martin explains:
“Now that we have comprehensive and binding legal framework, there is no reason not to prosecute and properly sanction offenders. An Garda Síochána will have to respond to calls for help, collect evidence and assess the risk of further violence to adequately protect victims. Judicial proceedings will have to be carried out in a manner that respects the rights of victims at all stages of the proceedings and that avoid secondary victimisation. And the State will have to account for progressing this implementation of the Convention through a monitoring system that sees a key role for NGOs in providing information on change. Making the change real for women and children and increasing their safety should be the most important priority.”
Today is International Women’s Day and Women’s Aid is joining with the European wide Step Up! Campaign which is taking action for the rights of women survivors of violence and their children to access support and protection. Our 8 Facts for March 8 campaign is running on social media is raising awareness of the prevalence and nature of domestic violence and dating abuse and the help available through our 24hr National Freephone Helpline.”
Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline 1800 341 900 www.womensaid.ie.
For more information contact Christina Sherlock, Head of Communications on 0879192357 or by email email@example.com
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