'Schools need domestic violence courses' - Women's council
€4m EU funding available for programme
The Irish education system is burying its head in the sand when it comes to domestic violence, a conference heard today.
Orla O’Connor, director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, said the education system is doing virtually nothing to educate school children about domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Even though at least one in five Irish women is a victim of domestic violence, the issue is never discussed at the primary school level and it should be if we are to stop the cycle of violence, she told Independent.ie.
“Look at all the children this is affecting. Yet there is no programme in schools around abusive relationships,” she said.
“This issue is shrouded in stigma and shame,” she said.
Teachers are also not adequately trained in being able to spot the signs when a child is being abused or living in an abusive family environment, she said.
She made the comments following a half-day forum in Dublin this morning on Combating Violence Against Women.
Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan (Sinn Fein) who was one of the speakers, said the Irish government should avail of a €4m fund from the EU that has been earmarked for each member state next year to raise awareness on domestic violence.
“I would love to see the Irish government embark on an education programme for our school children which particularly focused on our boys,” she told the forum.
“Too often the message that is circulated not just in Ireland, but internationally, is one of telling girls and women how to protect themselves, measures they need to take when out at night, when consuming alcohol,” she said .
“Wouldn’t it show how far Ireland has come as a small nation if instead of teaching girls how to protect themselves, we educated our boys not to be violent against women?”
The forum, organised by European Parliament and the Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women, was part of Women’s Aid’s 16 Days of Action Campaign Opposing Domestic Violence.