Written answers

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Violence Against Women

8:00 pm

Photo of M J NolanM J Nolan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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Question 486: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his proposals to provide resources for organisations that wish to provide training for public officials, health professionals and members of the public in the area of violence against women; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32371/05]

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin (Kerry South, Labour)
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Question 519: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he intends to take to increase the amount of information available to the public and state officials on violence against women; his response to the concerns expressed by the UN committee on the elimination of discrimination against women in July 2005 regarding the prevalence of violence against women and girls here; the low prosecution and conviction rates of perpetrators, high withdrawal rates of complaints, and inadequate funding for organisations that provide support services to victims; if he intends to act on their recommendations on the need for sustained training and awareness-raising initiatives for public officials, the Judiciary, health professionals and members of the public and similar recommendations from the National Crime Council in July 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32671/05]

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 486 and 519 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the National Steering Committee on Violence Against Women, NSC, was set up in 1997 to provide a co-ordinated response from the many statutory and voluntary bodies involved in responding to the problem of violence against women. My Department, in conjunction with the NSC, has conducted a series of successful awareness raising campaigns dealing with various aspects of this issue in recent years. The NSC is developing a strategic plan for its work over the next five to ten years which will include the development of a long-term and wide-ranging strategy for raising public awareness of the issue of violence against women. The strategic plan should be completed early next year and will be widely circulated at that time. In preparing this plan, the committee is reviewing a range of issues identified and recommendations made in the area of combating violence against women, including those arising from the conclusions of the UN committee referred to as well as the National Crime Council report on domestic violence.

This strategy is expected to address the information and awareness needs of relevant public officials and health professionals, in partnership with the training and education arrangements already in place for the groups in question. Provision of resources for such training will remain a matter for the relevant agency in each case. In the case of the Judiciary, which is independent in the exercise of its functions under the law and the Constitution, the Deputy should note that the provision of training and education is a matter for the Judicial Studies Institute which was established in 1996 for this purpose. My role in this regard is to support any programmes put in place by the institute through funding made available in the courts Vote which is administered by the Courts Service.


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