The package has been described as the Government’s “most ambitious” plan to date.
The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has announced a package worth €363 million to target domestic violence, and gender and sexual-based violence in Ireland.
Describing the strategy as the Government’s “most ambitious” plan to date, Minister McEntee has said that the plan will take a “zero tolerance” approach to violence against women.
As RTÉ reports, Ms McEntee announced the package on the way to a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning (28 June).
She said: “It means not turning a blind eye when abuse happens, just because it’s behind closed doors or in a relationship.
“It means not laughing off inappropriate comments or touching, whether it’s in person or WhatsApp group, but it also means getting right back to teaching younger people what a healthy relationship is.”
Glad to have full support of Cabinet to deliver our ambitious new Zero Tolerance strategy. We need to change attitudes, hearts, minds & laws as well as the structures to deliver.
Launch will be broadcast live at 4.30pm – tune in! https://t.co/JxK83O201B#zerotolerance pic.twitter.com/aBXlGL5Y8H
— Helen McEntee TD (@HMcEntee) June 28, 2022
The five-year plan is centred around four principles – protection, prevention, prosecution and policy coordination.
One of the plan’s aims is to increase the number of refuge centres for survivors of domestic violence from 141 to over 280.
Additionally, the maximum sentence for assault causing harm will be raised from five to 10 years. Assault causing harm is one of the most common offences in cases of domestic abuse.
The Government will coordinate the package in conjunction with Tusla, other state departments and some NGOs.
Minister McEntee’s announcement was welcomed by a number of groups tackling domestic violence in Ireland.
On RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Sarah Benson, the chief executive of Women’s Aid, said that she “applauds the ambition of the plan”, while Anne Clarke, a board member of Safe Ireland welcomed plans to double the maximum sentence for assault causing harm.
If you have been affected affected by any of the issues raised in this article, contact Women’s Aid 24/7 on 1800 341 900.
Feature image: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie