Earlier this year Ireland’s third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (DSGBV) was adopted. This is Ireland’s third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (DSGBV). The Strategy was developed using a theory of change approach. This approach means that the end goal for the overall strategy – that of zero tolerance in Irish society of DSGBV – remained central throughout the development of all aspects of the strategy and action plan.
The Strategy recognises that while both men and women can be victims/survivors, women and girls are affected disproportionately, as a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women. As a result, the emphasis within the Strategy is particularly on meeting the needs of women and girls.
However, the Strategy also recognises and acknowledges the need to provide support for all victims/survivors of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
Some of the key actions to be delivered under this Strategy include:
• The establishment of a new statutory DSGBV agency
• Doubling the number of refuge spaces available in Ireland
• National sexual violence and national domestic violence prevalence studies to be conducted alternately at five-year intervals
• New legislation to provide for the introduction of a specific offence of nonfatal strangulation, and a specific offence of stalking
• Ambitious public awareness campaigns which will seek to raise awareness of DSGBV as well as challenging existing myths, misconceptions and established beliefs
• Overhaul of the relationships and sexuality education curriculum
• Reforming the criminal law, including increasing the maximum sentence for assault causing harm from 5 years to ten years
• Training frontline workers to identify domestic violence and refer victims/ survivors to appropriate services
• Removing the legal barriers that can prevent people experiencing domestic violence from remaining at home (where it is safe to do so)
• Progressing and implementing the new Family Court Bill
• Improving prosecutions of breaches of any and all DSGBV civil orders provided for in domestic violence and family law legislation
The Strategy also provides for improved oversight structures to ensure greater clarity around, and accountability for, the delivery of key actions. This includes arrangements to ensure a shared approach to research and evaluation in relation to DSGBV issues across all relevant Departments and agencies.