Thursday 26 April 2018

UN tells Ireland to re-write proposed laws on domestic violence and to make abuse of a wife or girlfriend a specific offence

The United Nations committee against torture said all allegations of domestic violence should be recorded as such by gardai (picture posed by a model)
The United Nations committee against torture said all allegations of domestic violence should be recorded as such by gardai (picture posed by a model)

Ed Carty

Justice chiefs have been told to re-write proposed domestic violence laws to make abuse of a wife or girlfriend a specific offence.

The United Nations committee against torture warned the Government to revise promised legislation to include the crime of physical and psychological attack of a woman in a relationship.

It said all allegations of domestic violence should be recorded as such by gardai.

Alongside calls for new data gathering on the extent of the problem in Ireland, the UN said women who are victims of domestic violence should not have to pay any contribution for legal aid if they cannot afford it.

In a report published by the UN following a review last month, it said: "The Committee remains concerned that a significant percentage of Irish women reported having experienced physical and/or sexual violence and at reports that there are many cases in which the authorities have not sought appropriate punishments for perpetrators of sexual and domestic violence."

The Department of Justice told the committee during last month's hearings that it "considering the possibility" of amending the Domestic Violence Bill.

The UN Committee also called for adequate funding for women's refuges and supports including legal advice, counselling, safe emergency accommodation and shelters.

On Ireland's strict limitations on abortion, the committee said it was concerned at severe physical and mental anguish and distress experienced by women and girls who undergo terminations abroad.

The UN noted a referendum is expected on access to abortion but it called on the Government to ensure women who go through the procedure either legally or illegally get the necessary healthcare.

Press Association

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