Fine Gael Ireland South European Candidate, Deirdre Clune, has said that it should be a priority of the new Garda Commissioner, when appointed, to tackle domestic violence in Ireland.
“I welcome the announcement by Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, that there will be an open competition for the appointment of a new Garda Commissioner. I believe it should be a priority of the new Garda Commissioner, when appointed, to take a more pro-active stance on domestic abuse policy.
“Domestic violence was traditionally viewed as something that went on behind closed doors and should be dealt with ‘in house’. This has changed in recent years but that attitude still prevails in some parts.
“The Director of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Denise Charlton, told the Oireachtas Justice Committee in 2012 that there was significant evidence, at an anecdotal level, that domestic violence carried less weight than other crimes when it came to Garda investigations.”
“Domestic violence, especially against women, is still remarkably prevalent. An estimated 12% to 15% of women in Europe face violence in the home every day. It is one of the most wide-spread violations of human rights worldwide, and must be combatted.
“A recent survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights suggested 26 per cent of Irish women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner since the age of 15.
“The mass abduction of schoolgirls by Boko Harem in Nigeria is an agonising reminder that the global fight against violence against women goes on. Since the 1990s, the Council of Europe, of which I am a member, has actively promoted the protection of women and girls from gender based violence, namely by adopting Recommendations on the protection of women against violence and by running a Europe-wide campaign on violence against women, including domestic violence in 2006-2008.
“Some 57% of Irish women compared to 39% in Europe, said they had reasons for not contacting the police following the most serious incidence of violence. These included that they dealt with the issue themselves or involved a friend, or felt it was a ‘family matter’.
“Domestic violence is not always recorded within Gardaí/HSE protocols as a form of abuse which means it can get hidden under an anti-social issue or similar. Both of these factors mean it can be difficult to record its prevalence and helps to keep the issue under wraps.”