The launch of a report by the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality on domestic and sexual violence has been welcomed by David Stanton, Justice Committee Chairman and Fine Gael TD for Cork East. The report makes a number of recommendations to Government on domestic and sexual violence towards men, women and children.
“In 2013, the Justice Committee decided to initiate a public consultation process to examine Domestic and Sexual Violence in Ireland. We received over 40 submissions from various groups and individuals and held hearings on domestic and sexual violence towards men, women and children over two days. The Committee then compiled the report which we have now published”, said Deputy Stanton.
“This report is an attempt to expose the terrible and truly shocking situations some people endure on a daily basis. It is clear from the evidence presented to the Committee that domestic and sexual violence is a damaging scourge on Irish society. Not only does this issue concern physical violence, but also psychological and emotional violence. It plunges families into turmoil, destroys homes and most significantly, destroys lives.
“The intention of the Committee’s report is to present recommendations to the Minister for Justice and Equality that are robust and victim-focussed. Our aim in the report is to improve how the state addresses the issue of domestic and sexual violence by making the best supports possible available to victims and having the toughest possible sentences served on the perpetrators. We hope that, in some way, the report will bring a little comfort to victims of domestic and sexual violence.
“Our main recommendation is that the Government legislate for the necessary legal and constitutional changes to make domestic violence a crime. The Committee also recommends a wider definition of what constitutes “domestic violence” and “domestic abuse”. Assault is already a crime under Irish law however we heard during the hearings, that assaults are often treated differently if they occur inside the home or in public.
The Committee makes a number of other recommendations regarding: the powers of An Garda Siochana when they witness domestic violence; creating new offences such as marital assault and domestic assault; legislating for enhanced criminalisation of psychological abuses within a domestic context; the establishment domestic violence register for convicted abusers. The Committee’s full report and recommendations are available at: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/oireachtasbusiness/committees_list/jde-committee/reports/