On behalf of the Board of Safe Ireland we are delighted to present a review of our work for the years 2017 and 2018.
Safe Ireland believes that Ireland can become the safest country in the world. We are driving an ambitious 5-year strategy to change culture and transform the response to domestic violence in Ireland. Over the past two years there is an emerging groundswell of support against domestic violence in Ireland. Not least because Safe Ireland has increased the profile of the prevalence and nature of this issue through our leadership, lobbying and advocacy work.
During 2017 and 2018, Safe Ireland prioritised achieving key legal reforms to support victims of domestic violence. Through intelligent advocacy, dynamic collaboration, and through strategic engagement with key politicians we achieved landmark legislative change in 2018, by driving and advising on the new Domestic Violence Act 2018 and securing for the first time in Irish law Coercive Control as a criminal offence.
With our Members we piloted the Survivor Resilience Fund to support women to access or sustain safe accommodation and further developed the Safe Homes Safe Communities Programme which seeks to engage communities to prevent domestic violence and support disclosure and help-seeking. We designed and delivered innovative continuous professional development (CPD) training and learning events for our Members and other frontline domestic violence responders to support them in their work in responding to and supporting victims of domestic violence.
Safe Ireland through hosting the Safe World Summit in 2018 continued to bring public voice to the real experiences of women and their children throughout Ireland. This has resulted in significantly more coverage of the reality of the issue being profiled in the media and in civic society. A clear recognition of the complexity of domestic violence and coercive control and its devastating impact on victims.
We have seen welcome developments in legislation and policy development. Ireland’s commitments under the Istanbul Convention on Violence Against Women and the EU Victims Directive must be met and Safe Ireland will continue to have a key role in helping to deliver on those commitments.
Inspired by our country’s capacity to show that change is possible, we are very hopeful that through inspiring a national movement for a Safe Ireland we can dare to be the leaders that raise a generation of children who are free from violence – a generation that will grow with equal opportunities to realise their full potential. Just imagine the difference this would make to the world.
However, we know that to realise our vision for a safe Ireland for all we need to be brave, and open to change, open to new thinking, new partnerships, to letting go of what no longer serves us and to supporting an emerging generation of leaders who will carry the torch that will help realise this vision in their lifetimes.