Families already living with the trauma of family murder must be central to new review – Safe Ireland and Kathleen Chada

Safe Ireland welcomed the news that the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan will today bring to Cabinet plans for an independent research study on supports to people whose relatives have been killed by a family member.

The national organisation working with 36 domestic violence services throughout the country said that the move is an acknowledgement that State agencies have to date failed families living with the trauma of family murder.  

However, it emphasised that it is important that the review addresses the immediate needs of families who have already been affected in the proposed review. 

Kathleen Chada, whose two sons were murdered by their father, joined Safe Ireland in its call to immediately centre-stage families already living with the life sentence of familicide.

“While we will support the study announced by the Minister, it just feels like a start and it should not delay supporting families at this point,” Kathleen Chada said.  “At the end of the day we know statistically and historically that more women and children may be killed while this study is being conducted. And so we have to ask what more is going to be done in the immediate to prevent more women and children being killed and what will be done to respond to families now. This hopefully isn’t an announcement that is pushing out something that needs to be managed and dealt with immediately.”

Caitriona Gleeson, Programme and Communications Manager with Safe Ireland also welcomed that the study will examine ways to introduce reviews of domestic homicides in Ireland.  Safe Ireland first called for such reviews in its report The Lawlessness of the Home published over five years ago.

“We welcome this review as the critical basis for the long awaited model of homicide reviews that we so desperately need in this country,” Gleeson said.  “We have to get this right for the many families that have been left hanging without adequate supports, advice and counselling.  We also have to do everything we can to prevent further murders of women and children.  That is why it is vitally important that this study is also informed by expertise which understand coercive control and trauma.  Safe Ireland looks forward to working with the legal expert in this regard.”

Finally, Safe Ireland welcomed the news that the review is also likely to examine the role of the media – both traditional, social and digital – in reporting on familicide cases.  Safe Ireland is currently involved in a project that is analysing the way in which family murder cases have been reported.

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