Words: Ellen Kenny
The five-year Zero Tolerance Strategy includes 144 new measures to tackle domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence.
The plan approved by Cabinet today will be overseen by a new statutory agency with “real teeth, timelines and funding”, according to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. The plan will apparently be fully operational by January 2024.
The scheme will focus on education from an early age on issues such as consent, healthy sexual relationships, and domestic violence. These topics will be covered on an “age-appropriate” basis from primary school to third level education.
The Government approved 144 measures to lower domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence rates in Ireland.
The maximum sentence for assault will be doubled from five to ten years under the strategy.
The number of domestic violence refuge spaces will also increase from 141 to at least 280 in the next five years. Every county will have a violence refuge space for the first time.
Ireland is currently providing less than 30 per cent of the places recommended under the Istanbul Convention and nine counties currently do not have dedicated domestic violence refuges. Ireland should 490 refuge places if it is to ratify the Istanbul Convention.
Funding will also go towards training healthcare workers to recognise domestic violence and refer victims to appropriate support and services.
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