Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality

Domestic and Sexual Violence: Discussion

3:30 pm

Photo of Anne FerrisAnne Ferris (Wicklow, Labour) | Oireachtas source

As co-rapporteur of this body of work, along with the Deputy, I thank the witnesses for appearing before us.

We will have the second round of this next week. I am also grateful for all the submissions we received. In the case of some of them, we could not ask these people in because they gave us personal accounts of what had happened to them. They were absolutely harrowing.

However, there were a number of themes through all the presentations, such as people who need to apply for housing but are prevented from doing so because they are joint owners of a property. That legislation will have to be changed. Another theme is the education of judges. One hears stories about a person seeking a barring order and then a couple of weeks later they are back before a different judge with possibly a different attitude. There is also the immigration issue, where somebody is tied into a relationship with a person because their immigration status is a worry. There are also the funding issues and the cuts in funding to the various organisations. To ask a rhetorical question, how is one expected to provide these services if the funding is being cut, particularly to refuges and emergency accommodation?

I am sorry, Chairman, I realise I am making a speech, but you said at the start we could make a speech if we wished. I was particularly interested in the comments of Ms Margaret O'Keeffe and Mr. John Doyle with regard to the education of men and the programmes for men. We do not often hear about men who are victims of abuse and, second, the programmes that are available to help men who are abusers. How successful are the programmes? Again, this aspect is not highlighted.


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