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RCNI executive director Clíona Saidléar
Rape Crisis Network Ireland

Rape Crisis Network calls for independent authority on domestic, sexual, gender based violence

This post would independently monitor and scrutinise the coordination and implementation of policy and practice.

THE RAPE CRISIS Network Ireland (RCNI) has called for an independent authority on domestic, sexual and gender based violence. 

The RCNI and other NGOs are today meeting with Grevio, the international expert body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention. 

This is the first opportunity for NGOs to report directly to Grevio representatives n what they have observed that the Irish State has done, is doing and will need to do in the future to respond effectively to rising levels of domestic, sexual and gender based violence, the RCNI said. 

Part of the State response to domestic, sexual and gender based violence is Zero Tolerance, the Government’s third national domestic and gender based violence strategy published in 2022. 

The RCNI said it is concerned this strategy doesn’t include provision for independent monitoring. 

It is calling on Grevio to assess the need to establish such a role, like an Ombudsman, for domestic, sexual and gender based violence. 

This post would independently monitor and scrutinise the coordination and implementation of policy and practice.

It would be given powers and independence in legislation so that it can do this work without fear or interference and it would be survivor-centred and transparent.

The RCNI said that currently, external evaluation rests with frontline NGOs who are seeking to hold accountable the very bodies they rely on for funding and their continued existence.

‘The State has failed thus far to initiate, resource and place on a statutory footing a mechanism for independently monitoring and evaluating the implementation of policies to prevent and combat violence against women,” RCNI executive director Clíona Saidléar said.

“The Istanbul Convention not only requires the securing of a coordination body such as is being devised right now, but also effective monitoring and evaluation,” Saidléar said.

“We have learnt many times over in Ireland, particularly around sexual violence, that leaving authorities to police themselves is bad practice.,” she said. 

“We cannot begin this new page in addressing sexual violence by replicating old and failed practices. This would be a lost opportunity in this government’s determination to transform our response to DSGBV – and for RCNI we fear a fatal flaw.”

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