07 December, 2018 - Minister Mitchell O’Connor attends the Irish Observatory on Violence against Women

Minister underlines importance of ratification of Istanbul Convention

Minister also confirms that students will be a distinct group within the SAVI 2 report

 

This morning Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., attended the Irish Observatory on Violence against Women, a coalition of organisations opposing violence against women and spoke of her frustration at how long it has taken to implement the Istanbul Convention. Ireland’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention will ensure that Ireland achieves international standards of protection and support for women in abusive violent situations.

Speaking at the event the Minister said, “I share your frustration about how long it has taken to implement the Convention, given Ireland signed it over three years ago. It is a very significant legal instrument in combatting sexual and domestic violence. Our Programme for Government is committed to its implementation, as is the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D. There is one remaining legislative action required before Ireland can ratify the Convention and the Minister will publish this in the very near future. Its early enactment will allow ratification of the Istanbul Convention.”

The Minister also referred to SAVI 2, the new ‘Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland’ study, as an important and complex piece of work which was approved by the Government last month. She said, “We have tasked the Central Statistics Office with conducting the survey. It will gather data on the prevalence and nature of sexual violence in Ireland to properly inform Government policy development, ensuring appropriate responses to sexual violence. It is important that this sensitive study is conducted in a professional and comprehensive manner with indisputable and actionable outcomes. It is recognised by the Government that whilst this approach takes time it is vital that we get this right.”

The Minister also said “I am delighted that we have identified students as a distinct group within SAVI 2, considering that over 45 percent of the people who present at the Dublin Sexual Assault Unit in the Rotunda Hospital classify themselves as students, it is imperative that we hear their voices within this study.”

The event was held in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Other speakers included Noeline Blackwell, Human Rights Lawyer and CEO of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, Tessa Collins, Pavee Point Violence Against Women Programme, Salome Mbugua, AkiDwA – The Migrant Women’s Network.

In her speech the Minister referred to the Domestic Violence Act which will commence next month, she said, “This ground-breaking legislation which had cross party support, will protect women in abusive situations by extending the availability of remedies to a greater number of victims of violence, introducing the emergency barring order, recognising the offence of coercive control and making forced marriage a criminal offence.”