Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has secured Government approval to publish the Bill to create the statutory agency. Alamy Stock Photo
Zero Tolerance

Statutory agency dedicated to tackling domestic violence to begin operating in January

Justice Minister Helen McEntee will introduce legislation to establish the agency to the Dáil by the end of the month.

A STATUTORY AGENCY dedicated to tackling and reducing domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV) will be up and running in January next year. 

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee will introduce legislation to establish the agency to the Dáil by the end of the month. 

The creation of the agency was a commitment in the ‘Zero Tolerance’ national strategy on DSGBV, which was published last June.

Recruitment of a chief executive of the new agency will begin this month. Candidates for the position will have three weeks to submit their application to the Public Appointments Service (PAS) following the opening of the competition.

The agency will be responsible for planning, coordinating and monitoring the development of refuge accommodation; providing support for the delivery of services to victims and persons at risk of DSGBV and developing standards for funded services and monitoring compliance.

It will also be responsible for coordinating the delivery of relevant Government strategies and plans; delivering public campaigns aimed at raising awareness of DSGBV and reducing its prevalence and carrying out ongoing research to support the development of future policies and programme.

The agency will also be mandated to engage and consult appropriately with the DSGBV sector and other stakeholders.

McEntee said the Bill has benefited from constructive engagement with relevant Government Departments and State bodies, in particular with the Department of Children, Equality, Integration and Youth and the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) in the context of the transfer of responsibility for funding of DSGBV services from Tusla to the new agency.

“I am committed to our goal of having Zero Tolerance of domestic, sexual and gender based violence and am determined to deliver real reforms which last,” she said.

“Recent Garda figures show the majority of homicides in this country have had a domestic abuse motivation. Unfortunately, we are all sadly familiar with all too regular stories of abuse and violence against women.”

McEntee said the programme for Government recognises DSGBV as an “epidemic”, adding that she is determined to put reforms and structures in place to tackle the issue.

“We have responded strongly with the Zero Tolerance Strategy, which commits to an enhanced and joined-up Government response to tackling these crimes and to supporting victims and survivors,” she continued.

“This will be done, as it is now, in close partnership with the organisations who work on the frontline. I’ve also passed tough new laws, such as increasing the maximum sentence for assault causing harm – one of the most common offences in domestic abuse – from five years to ten years.

“The Bill to establish this agency is a top Government priority under the autumn legislative programme.”

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