The Oireachtas Justice Committee recently held two hearings on domestic and sexual violence, advises Committee Chair and Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton. The hearings follow the invitation of submissions from individuals and interested parties and a report will now be prepared by the Committee for the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter TD and used to inform changes to policy and legislation.
“The Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality sought submissions on the area of domestic and sexual violence last April. We were very pleased with the large number of submissions received, 51 in total, which clearly demonstrate the public interest in this area.
Before holding the hearings we published all the submissions to stimulate debate and to enhance informed engagement at the hearings. The submissions can be viewed at: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/justice/Domestic_Sexual-Report-Edited.pdf
“This interest is, unfortunately, not surprising as we were advised during the hearings that domestic and sexual violence is a real problem for our society. Figures provided at the hearings make for depressing reading. For example, in 2012, domestic violence services in Ireland answered in excess of 50,000 helpline calls. EU figures, however, show that as little as 10% of women who experienced a serious incident of physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner have sought support from a victim support service or refuge.
“We held hearings for two days on 19th and 26th February, where more than 20 different groups and individuals were invited to discuss their submissions with Committee Members. I was very impressed with the interaction from invitees with Committee members which led to a very informed debate on both days. We hope that the resulting report will produce genuine, practical and realistic recommendations which can be brought forward to address the problem of domestic and sexual violence. We need to better support people who are suffering, or have suffered, as a result of domestic and sexual violence and bring about a reduction in these types of violence, working towards its total elimination from our society.
For anyone interested in reading the debates, a link to the transcript of the first meeting is available on the Oireachtas website at:
http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/committeebasebyyear/2014?opendocument with the second debate due to be available shortly”, concluded Deputy Stanton.