IHREC: State must to do more to end violence against women
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has welcomed the publication of the Council of Europe GREVIO Committee’s examination into Ireland, which found that the State’s provision of legal aid does not meet the current demand for victims of domestic, sexual and gender based violence (DSCBV).
GREVIO (The Group of Experts on Action Against Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence) published its report following its first baseline review under the Istanbul Convention, to which the Commission made detailed submissions in December 2022.
GREVIO, in acknowledging their concerns, called on the State to ensure that legal aid in civil proceedings is more accessible for victims of gender based violence, in particular by raising the income threshold for eligibility.
In addition, it called for the extension of offences for which free legal aid can be provided to victims of gender based violence, ensuring that it is provided as early as at the reporting/investigation stage.
In its own recommendations, IHREC noted the limitations of the Legal Aid Board, particularly its exclusion from providing legal representation before many quasi-judicial tribunals and bodies which victims and survivors of DSGBV may engage with as they deal with issues relating to social welfare and housing.
Chief commissioner Sinéad Gibney said: “Violence against women remains at crisis levels in Ireland. The State is obliged to do everything in its power to keep women and girls safe, in our communities and in our homes.
“In order to better understand the nature and extent of violence against women, we need better data. The last number of years has witnessed growing frustration around the alarming levels of domestic, sexual and gender based violence in Ireland. We reiterate our calls for domestic homicide reviews, and for a gold standard of data collection so we can work toward a zero tolerance culture toward violence against women in Ireland.”