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