Minister for gender-based violence needed in Ireland, assembly told

ireland
Minister For Gender-Based Violence Needed In Ireland, Assembly Told
The assembly heard calls to tackle what was described as an 'epidemic' of gender-based violence. Photo: PA Images.
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A Government minister with direct responsibility for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence is needed in Ireland, the Citizens’ Assembly has heard.

The Irish Times reports that the assembly met virtually on Saturday to hear from advocacy groups and academics on how to tackle gender violence, as part of its discussion on gender inequality.

The assembly heard calls for the creation of a single authority to tackle what was described as an “epidemic” of gender-based violence.

Safe Ireland, an agency working towards ending domestic violence, said the separation of policy, planning and service provision across government departments and agencies is impeding work.

It called for the appointment of a minister, along with the establishment of a national plan to develop domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services.

A society free or at least intolerant of sexual violence

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Meanwhile, the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said a “central focal point” in Government should be established to co-ordinate all actions needed to bring about “a society free or at least intolerant of sexual violence”.

Chief executive of the network, Noeline Blackwell, said the Irish response to sexual violence was piecemeal and led by advocacy groups.

There was no body, person or office in charge of managing the sexual violence epidemic, “let alone get rid of it”, she said.

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A victim of sexual violence in Ireland encounters a system that is “deeply complex” and requires engagement across a number of departments, Clíona Saidléar, chief executive of Rape Crisis Network Ireland said.

Dr Saidléar called for a victims’ commissioner to be put in place by the Government, to be “an independent advocate and voice for victims” and help them navigate the system.

Monica O’Connor from UCD’s School of Social Policy, Social Work & Social Justice said a new clause in the Constitution which makes gender equality “a value of Ireland and recognises all citizens as equal” would be a measure of Ireland’s progress.

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