Ratification of Istanbul Convention – Encouraging that Government sees it as a renewal of its commitment to violence against women

Safe Ireland warmly welcomes the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by Ireland today, International Women’s Day.

In particular, the national agency working to end domestic violence said that it was encouraged that the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has put it on record that ratification of the international legal instrument does not mean the end of the Government’s efforts but rather signals a renewal of the Government’s commitments to protect survivors of domestic and sexual violence and to hold perpetrators to account.

Caitriona Gleeson, Programme and Communications Manager with Safe Ireland, said that Ireland had made significant strides in areas such as policy, training and legislation over the past few years, however, the reality on the ground is that the response to women looking for safety every day remains fragmented.

“We are hugely encouraged by the sentiments of the Minister and Government that they see the Convention as a platform for further commitment to this issue,” she said after the Convention was officially ratified in Strausbourg.  “Ultimately we have a pivotal choice now. We can ratify the Convention and then revert to piecemeal business as usual.  Or we can ratify it and say, now let’s put in place the wrap-around resources, emergency accommodation, training, policies, support infrastructure, awareness programmes and whole of society response that will make Ireland the safest country in the world for women and children.”

“Because at the moment we are failing to meet the needs of women and children,” she continued. “We have no specialised trauma response services or specialised legal services, for example.  We still don’t have mechanisms for an interagency response to family annihilations, leaving families, as we saw over the past week, abandoned and searching for answers.  We can do much better, and it’s great to hear the Government committing to this.”

For more information contact:           Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

 

Ratification of Istanbul Convention – Catalyst to Get Things Right for Women and Children

Safe Ireland welcomes the news that Cabinet will sit on International Women’s Day and intends to ratify the Istanbul Convention to protect women from all forms of violence, including domestic violence.  It said that this was a further significant and positive step towards making Ireland a safer country for women and children. 

However, the national social change agency working to end domestic violence also said that the ambition of the Istanbul Convention would only be realised if the Government also committed to putting in place the specialised supports and services that women and children need to be safe from abuse and control.

Caitriona Gleeson, Programme and Communications Manager with Safe Ireland, said that while Ireland had made significant strides in areas such as policy, training and legislation over the past few years, the reality on the ground is that the response to women looking for safety remains fragmented. 

 “Ultimately we have a choice,” she said.  “We can ratify the Convention and then revert to piecemeal business as usual.  Or we can ratify it and say, now let’s put in place the wrap-around resources, training, policies, support infrastructure, awareness programmes and whole of society response that will make Ireland the safest country in the world for women and children.”

“Because at the moment we are failing to meet the needs of women and children,” she continued. “We have no specialised trauma response services or specialised legal services, for example.  We still don’t have mechanisms for an interagency response to family annihilations, leaving families, as we saw over the past week, abandoned and searching for answers.  We can do much better, and ratifying Istanbul gives us the incentive to do so.”

Ireland’s long-awaited ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, expected today, comes nearly eight years after it first opened for signatures in 2011.  The Convention became effective in 2014 and Ireland signed it in 2015.  Ireland is the 34th country to ratify the Convention.

For more information contact:           Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Working for Safer Homes and Safer Communities – Coercive Control Expert Evan Stark to Visit Ireland in December 2018

Safe Ireland is delighted to be hosting world renowned Professor Emeritus Evan Stark and other leading experts in domestic violence at a series of conferences, meetings and information sessions with professionals, survivors and advocates this December.

Increasing understanding

As part of a wider strategy to create safer homes and safer communities the public events will be a great opportunity to support professionals across disciplines to improve responses to domestic violence. Participants will be empowered with a greater understanding of what coercive control is while also strengthening their professional capacity to help recognise and respond more effectively to domestic violence. The events will also provide information relating to new measures in Irish legislation that are set to commence in 2019.

Multidisciplinary Conferences around Ireland

Safe Ireland is collaborating with a number of organisations to co-host a series of multidisciplinary conferences around Ireland. The conference ‘Understanding and Responding to Coercive Control‘ with Professor Emeritus Evan Stark, leading UK domestic violence expert Davina James Hanman and Irish legal expert Caroline Counihan will take place in both Sligo (12th December) and Clare (14th December).

Professor Stark will also speak in Dublin at the Strengthening Responses Conference being run by St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services in association with Safe Ireland.

Sligo

In Sligo, Safe Ireland will co-host ‘Understanding and Responding to Coercive Control‘ a one day conference with DVAS on December 12th, in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Sligo. For more information and to book your place, click here.

Clare

In Clare, Safe Ireland will co-host ‘Understanding and Responding to Coercive Control‘ a one day conference with the Clare Women’s Network on December 14th, in Ennis (venue to be confirmed). For further information and to book your place, click here.

Dublin

Professor Evan Stark will also be speaking in conjunction with Safe Ireland at the ‘Strengthening Responses Conference’ being hosted by St. Patrick’s Mental Health Service in Dublin on December 3rd, more information can be found here.

If you would like any further information on any of the events happening throughout December please contact office@safeireland.ie

Collaborators

 

 

Change will only start when we believe women who report violence, says Safe Ireland on eve of international Summit

On the eve of the biggest event on gender equality and gender-based violence to take place in Europe this year, Safe Ireland said that the first fundamental step to bringing about transformative change in the way society addresses domestic and sexual violence is to believe women who report violence.

The national social change agency working to eradicate domestic violence, hosting the international Summit, was blunt in its assessment that what we are doing as a society currently to address gender-based violence is not working.

The Safe Ireland Safe World Summit is taking place in The Mansion House on Monday and Tuesday, October 22nd and 23rd.  Over 35 world leading activists, advocates, lawyers, historians, journalists, and survivors are coming to Dublin to explore the meaningful solutions that are needed to support women and children experiencing violence.

Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland, said that there was a long history of silencing and ignoring women’s voices in Ireland and across the globe, and that this had to stop.  Silence, she said, is the universal condition of oppression and inequality.

“Our members work with women who have had their children removed because they were not believed,” she said.  “We work with women who are under threat of their children being taken away on a daily basis by court mandated state agencies.  We work with women who have been abused and raped and then told to go home to their rapists.”

“We have seen in just the last week in our courts here in Ireland that serious offences that happen within intimate partner relationships are excused and minimised, with the needs and sensitivities of the perpetrator being put before the women and children who have been the victims of horrific assault.”

“A few weeks ago in the United States we saw that the default position of dominant power structures like politics is still a resounding ‘believe the man’,” she said.  We need our leaders to stand up and say, I believe her.”

She said that the root of all violence is in the home.

“We know that not everyone is born into or lives in a safe home but we haven’t figured out how to talk about it,” O’Halloran said.  “For too many women and children the home is a place of abusive tyranny and domination.”

Safe Ireland is hosting the international Summit in Ireland because it wants to place Ireland at the centre of the world’s possibility to transform violence against women and violence in the home particularly.   It believes that with the commencement and adequate resourcing of the new Domestic Violence Act 2018, and with political leadership Ireland can be a leading global example.

The Safe World Summit starts at 9 am on Monday, October 23rd with a symbolic opening ceremony when 50 survivors and young people will bring in light to the Round Room.  The morning session will hear from Dr. Edith Eger, a 91 Auschwitz survivor; Kathleen Chada, whose two young sons were murdered by their father; Luke and Ryan Hart, whose mother and sister were murdered by their father; Davina James Hanman, an expert on coercive control, and Robert Jensen, a US based journalism professor who will talk about the end of patriarchy. 

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Safe Ireland Says There is An Urgent Need for Stronger Sentencing for Partner Violence As Provided in new DV Act

Domestic Violence Agency saddened but not surprised at leniency of sentence in recent case and calls for DPP to consider an appeal.

Safe Ireland, the national social change agency working to eradicate domestic violence, said that reports today that a man walked free from court following a serious assault on his partner underlined the urgent need for an enhanced sentencing regime to recognise the seriousness of the violence and the breach of trust that is at the heart of intimate partner violence.

The agency, which has 37 frontline member organisations, called for the swift commencement of the new Domestic Violence Act 2018, which recognises, for the first time, that violence within an intimate relationship is an aggravating factor for sentencing.

It was responding today to reports that a man who hit his wife twice across the head after dragging her upstairs and removing her jeans by force, was given a suspended sentence and walked free from court.

The agency also suggested that the DPP should consider appealing the sentencing on the grounds of undue leniency, which is within the powers of the office.

“We are saddened but not surprised at the leniency of the sentence in this case,” said Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland.  “But, unfortunately, it is not unusual.  We have comprehensive evidence from survivors across the country that domestic violence is more often than not regarded as a mitigating factor in our courts rather than being seen for what it is – a serious assault and a serious crime.”

“The outcome of this case – which is just one case before our courts – underlines how important it is that the new Domestic Violence Act is commenced as soon as possible.  It is a ground-breaking piece of legislation that recognises violence within an intimate relationship as a greater offence, not one that can be excused or rationalised away.”

O’Halloran described the home as the last institution in Ireland to be opened up, examined and recognised as abusive tyrannies of domination for many women and children.  Until we see violence in the home as an offence that cannot be excused, at any level, we will not be in a position as a society to eradicate the misery and trauma it causes, she said.

For more information contact:  Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

Domestic Violence Costing the Economy More than Previously Thought

Agency urges politicians to keep watch for vital investments that can transform women’s lives

Safe Ireland, the national agency working to eradicate domestic violence in Ireland, delivered a Budget Watch to all TDs and Senators today, to urge them to monitor Budget 2019 for the delivery of five essential measures of care and progress for women and children living with violence.

The agency said that the minimum additional investment needed in 2019 to address the urgent needs of victims of domestic violence is €35 million. The agency now knows, from new research currently being carried out with NUI Galway, that is just a tiny fraction of the enormous estimated annual cost of domestic violence to the economy every year.

Up to now, the often-cited figure on economic costs for domestic violence is €2.2 billion a year.  This is based on a 2006 Council of Europe study which looked at costs across areas like policing, health bills, lost productivity and court proceedings.

New Safe Ireland/NUI Galway research on the estimated cost of domestic violence in Ireland is indicating that the cost could actually be far greater than previously thought.  The research is looking at the economic and social costs of domestic violence across three phases of a survivor’s journey, from living within the abusive relationship to relocation and recovery. 

“Domestic violence is more than a human rights violation and public health issue, By exploring its wider economic and social impact, we highlight the often invisible or ignored consequences for individuals, households, the community and society,” said Dr. Caroline Forde, Researcher at the Centre for Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway.

Safe Ireland called particularly for a specific, ring-fenced allocation of €15 million in the housing budget to fund and target initiatives to support women and families to access stable housing.  It is widely acknowledged that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children. 

“It’s really easy maths.  If you allocate adequate and targeted resources to prevention and support for survivors of domestic violence, you save lives, restore futures and save billions,” Caitriona Gleeson, Programme Manager with Safe Ireland said.  “If you don’t address it and work around the edges as we have done for decades in Ireland, it continues to cost us all and leaves women and children at greater risk of revictimisation, trauma and poorer life outcomes.”

Safe Ireland said that Ireland now has some of the most ground-breaking and progressive legislation in the world designed to protect and support survivors of domestic violence.  However, legislation has to be backed up by adequate and targeted funding if it is to make a difference to people’s lives, it said.

 

Five Measures of Care and Progress in Budget 2019

 

1.     Safe Homes: Specific ring-fenced allocation of funding and targeted initiatives for survivors of domestic violence.

Investment Needed:   €15 million

2.     Sustainable Support Services: Increase refuge and support services so that they are accessible throughout the country, upgrade facilities, bring pay and conditions of low paid professionals up to 2018 levels, breaking a pay freeze that has been in place since 2009.

Investment Needed:   €20 million

3.     Training and Awareness: Targeted and specific training and awareness training for frontline responders.

Investment Needed:   €2 million 

4.     Trauma and Recovery: Development of special trauma response service.

Investment Needed:   €8 million

5.     Resource our legislation: Increase resources allocated to justice and victim support services to implement the new DV Act and Victims Directive.

No access to cost of increasing trained personnel across other services

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-29395207

 

Applications for bursaries to attend the Safe World Summit now open

Update:  The application process for bursaries to the Safe World Summit is now closed. We are delighted to have been able to respond to over 100 requests to attend the Summit. If you have further queries please contact summit@safeireland.ie

Are you a survivor, responder, supporter or activist who would like to attend the Safe World Summit but you cannot afford the ticket price?

The Safe World Summit happening this October is a once in a lifetime event, designed to bring together thought leaders, innovators, change makers and warriors from across industries, social causes and life experiences to focus on ending violence against women.

We are working to make the Safe World Summit as accessible as possible to a wide audience. We are actively fundraising to make bursaries available to cover the ticket price for the many people who want to attend the full two-day event but are not able to afford to buy a ticket.

To apply for a bursary, please complete this form.

Bursaries will be awarded subject to availability.

The closing date for applications is 10th October at 5pm.

Bursaries are available for those aged 26 and over, who are ordinarily resident in the Republic/Northern Ireland.

We are also working with SpunOut.ie to ensure a high participation of young people at the Safe World Summit. If you are aged between 16 – 25 and would like to attend the Summit please apply through SpunOut.ie who are taking applications. You can find more information here.

Please note that the bursary will only cover the ticket cost to the two-day Summit. It does not include travel, accommodation or food costs.

Safe Ireland partners with SpunOut.ie to invite young people to the Safe World Summit

Safe Ireland is delighted to partner with SpunOut.ie to invite young people from across the country to attend The Safe World Summit. Together we believe it is possible to make our homes and communities free of gender based violence, but we need the help of young people to make this dream a reality.

If you are aged between 16-25 years old, living in Ireland, and would like to attend The Safe World Summit 2018, please click here to apply through SpunOut.ie for a ticket to Summit.

Safe Ireland and SpunOut.ie hope you will join us for this global gathering of thought leaders, innovators, and status quo disruptors, so that together we can understand new ways to heal, build resilience and restore the balance of equality. If you have further questions or concerns please email hello@spunout.ie

World Leading Pioneers and Activists Will Descend on Dublin for International Safe World Summit Next Month

Safe Ireland today announced the line-up of world renowned speakers for its upcoming Safe World Summit, which is seen as one of the most important events on gender equality and ending gender based violence on the global calendar this year.

Safe Ireland also confirmed that it is in close contact with the office of the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon MP to secure her attendance at the Dublin Summit.  Ms Sturgeon’s leadership is regarded as being pivotal to the many pioneering cultural and institutional changes that have moved her country closer to eradicating violence against women, in particular partner violence.

The Safe World Summit will take place in just over four weeks’ time on October 22nd and 23rd in Dublin’s Mansion House. The 2018 event follows the highly successful inaugural 2016 Safe Ireland Summit which was credited as a catalyst for many positive developments in Ireland, including the recognition of the offence of coercive control in the new Domestic Violence Act 2018. Safe Ireland is the national social change agency working to make Ireland the safest country in the world for women and children.

The Summit will also be attended by Dr Edith Eger, celebrated Holocaust Survivor, Clinical Psychologist and Author of the international and Ireland’s current best-selling book ‘The Choice: Embrace the Impossible.’  This will Dr Eger’s first speaking trip to Ireland and one of a few to Europe.  Other speakers making their first trip to Ireland include survivors and activists Luke and Ryan Hart, whose mother and sister were murdered by their father, and activist Marai Larasi, who accompanied actress Emma Watson to the Golden Globes in recognition of her work for ethnic minority women.

Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland said that many international speakers have made the decision to travel to Dublin because of the emphasis on equality, safety, healing and love central to the Safe World event. Safe Ireland believes that Ireland is ideally placed to play a leading role in re-shaping a world that is safe and equal again.

“Our Summit is happening as a time when we are witnessing a regressive resurgence of domination and fear politics across Europe and the world,” Sharon O’Halloran said. “We know from dark periods of history that fear and domination politics enables abuse of power and control in intimate relationships.”

“At this crucial time, we need to understand more about the links between the global problem of gender based violence and the impact of the trauma it leaves in our homes and communities. We have to develop a whole new world view that is built on equality, tolerance, safety and love.  This means designing and implementing innovative new solutions that address the inequality that is at the root of violence, abuse and fear.  And this must start with addressing violence, dominance, control and fear in the home.”

Safe Ireland said that it is delighted to be partnering with Spunout.ie to ensure that there is active youth engagement throughout the Summit.

“Young people play a particularly important role in ending gender based violence in our communities,” said Kiki Martire, Spunout.ie’s Outreach and Training Officer. “Many grow up with violence themselves and they often lack the same access to support and services as those older than them. And, of course, younger people will be the ones to lead the charge to change our culture and end this violence in the future. This is why SpunOut.ie is particularly excited to bring the young people we engage with to the table this October so that all at the Safe Ireland Summit can learn from their fresh and necessary perspectives.”

Other renowned international speakers include Dr. Riane Eisler, gender equality pioneer and systems scientist, lawyer and author; Lynn Rosenthal, the former White House Advisor to President Barack Obama on Violence Against Women; and Robert Jensen, Professor Emeritus of Journalism and author of The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men.

For more media information contact: Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207

For more information about the Safe World Summit and to purchase tickets for the two-day event, go to https://www.safeireland.ie/summit/about-safe-world-summit-2018/

 

It’s going to be unforgettable

Here’s a taste of the over 30 speakers confirmed so far for the Safe Ireland Safe World Summit.

Dr Edith Eger, Holocaust Survivor, Clinical Psychologist & Best Selling Author ‘The Choice: Embrace the Possible’

Dr Riane Eisler, Gender Equality Pioneer, Systems Scientist, advocate for caring economies, International Best Seller, Author of groundbreaking books including ‘The Real Wealth of Nations’ and ‘The Chalice and the Blade’

Marai Larasi, Executive Director of Imkaan and Co-Chair of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (UK), who accompanied Emma Watson to the Golden Globes this year.

Lynn Rosenthal, Former US White House Advisor on Violence Against Women

Mona Eltahawy, Award-Winning Columnist ‘Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution’

Robert Jenson, Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Texas, Austin, and author of The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men.

Helen Walmsley Johnson, Author of ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, Columnist and Survivor who experienced coercive control by a “smiling” abuser, twice.

Luke and Ryan Hart, whose mother and sister were murdered by their father, and who have become strong survivor advocates against violence against women.

Insia Dariwala, Award Winning Filmmaker and Activist, Founder of the Hands of Hope Foundation in India, advocate against the abuse of girls and boys and activist against Female Genital Cutting.

Monica Ramirez, Activist, Author, Civil Rights Attorney who has focused her work on ending gender-based violence in the workplace for Latina and immigrant women.

Marsha Scott, Chief Executive at Scottish Women’s Aid

Bruce Shapiro, Executive Director, The Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, Columbia University

Winnie M Li, Writer and Activist

Clara Rose Thornton, Spoken Word Artist

Ailbhe Smth, Feminist, Activist and LGBT campaigner, co-director of the Together for Yes campaign to repeal the 8th amendment, leading campaigner for Marriage Equality referendum.

Suzanne Connolly, Survivor and Advocate, who waited 34 years to see her abuser, her adoptive father, sentenced in court.

Kathleen Chada, Survivor and Activist, whose two sons were murdered by their father and who now campaigns through the group SAVE for tougher sentences for perpetrators.

Rebooting the Domestic Violence Revolution

On July 12th 2018, Safe Ireland hosted an event to mark the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act 2018 and to launch Resolve, our new Legal Information and Advocacy Service.