Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
The Government is very committed to tackling the scourge of domestic violence in this country. It is a very complex issue and a broad range of action is being taken across the country by many State and Non-State organisations to prevent and respond effectively to this often hidden crime. A clear signal of government concern and commitment to this matter was the establishment in June 2007 of Cosc - the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence. Cosc's key task is to ensure the delivery of a well co-ordinated 'whole of government' response to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
Earlier this year Cosc completed its priority work on the development of the first National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2010-2014. The strategy was developed through a thorough process of research and consultation with interested stakeholders from State, Non-governmental organisations and the broader community. Following approval by the Government last February, the national strategy was published in March and is now being implemented. The strategy aims to prevent the violence concerned and to respond effectively to such violence. Ultimately the impact of the strategy will be fewer victims of domestic violence, better services for those who are victims and increased accountability by perpetrators of the violence.
More specifically the national strategy contains clear actions to promote a culture of prevention and recognition through increased understanding of domestic violence and to deliver an effective service to those affected by domestic violence. Among these actions are ones which: manage risks posed by, and strengthen measures to deal with, perpetrators of domestic violence; update the law on domestic violence to give further protection to victims; examine the option of a one-stop-shop for greater accessibility of services to victims; and ensure improved opportunities for disclosure of domestic violence.
These actions under the strategy will be delivered by the state agencies within whose remit the actions fall. Steps have been taken to ensure efficient progress on the implementation of the actions. A Strategy Oversight Committee meets twice-yearly to review progress. The Committee, which is chaired by the Secretary General of my Department, includes senior officials from key government departments and state agencies responsible for implementing actions in the strategy. In addition progress on the implementation of the strategy will be encouraged and monitored by Cosc on an ongoing basis.
Through this national strategic framework and the commitment of government departments and state bodies, working in partnership with all the relevant NGOs, I am confident that substantial progress can be made in this area.