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A major national awareness campaign on domestic and sexual violence launched yesterday was attended by David Stanton, Fine Gael TD for Cork East and Minister for State at the Department of Justice & Equality. The campaign ‘What would you do?’ is part of the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021.

“’What would you do? is about raising awareness of domestic and sexual violence to bring about changes in societal behaviour. As Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration I am very pleased that my Department has provided funding of €950,000 to COSC, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence to run the campaign.

“At the moment, funding has been provided for just the first two years of the National Strategy but I know the intention is that it would continue up to and including 2021. “It is important to note that this campaign recognises that bother women and men are victims of these types of violence and that it aims to reduce these crimes through prevention, empowerment and support.

“It is an unfortunate fact that domestic violence is a pervasive problem in Ireland with 29% of women and 26% of men suffering some form of domestic abuse. Research by COSC found that more than 70% of people surveyed considered domestic abuse to be a common problem in Ireland with 44% saying they know somebody who has been a victim of domestic abuse.

“In addition to attending this event today, I will also be launching a White Ribbon Ireland event on Saturday on International Men’s Day. The White Ribbon international campaign was set up by men to see what men themselves can do to end men’s violence against women and achieve gender equality by changing attitudes and behaviours by engaging with young men in particular. The White Ribbon campaign is now in operation in over 60 countries.

“I hope that with campaigns such as these too which focus on education and awareness that we can help bring about change. We are also working on improving statutory protections with a new Domestic Violence Bill also at an advanced stage of preparation. This Bill, which I would hope will be published soon will improve access for men and women to barring orders and provide greater supports for victims in the court process also.