Women's Council call for stalking legislation as threats against female politicians "becoming common" 2 months ago

Women's Council call for stalking legislation as threats against female politicians "becoming common"

"There needs to be more supports around security and safety."

Emma DeSouza, women in leadership coordinator at the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWC), has said that stalking legislation as well as support from political parties is needed as threats against female politicians is "becoming common".

Advertisement

She told Newstalk's Pat Kenny show on Monday that the level of abuse experienced by women in politics is "deeply" concerning and "not a one-off" occurance.

"The National Women's Council stands with all women who experience violence or harassment, and are deeply concerned that this is not a one-off but actually is becoming rather common in Ireland," she said.

"This level of abuse and harassment being experienced by female parliamentarians is a significant and increasing barrier to women entering public office."

"No one should face threats of violence, including rape, in performing their public duties," she continued.

DeSouza added that "more needs to be done to tackle and proactively address these issues, and there needs to be more supports around security and safety".

"There is no standalone stalking legislation: I know that Stalking Ireland is calling for legislation around a standalone stalking piece of legislation - and NWC fully supports their campaign in achieving that," she added.

"There's lots of different areas that need to be addressed."

Advertisement

She said that "outdated perceptions of women in these spaces" also need to be gotten rid of, as well as individual political parties supporting members of their parties who experience abuse online.

"We see it in terms of some of the experiences of female parliamentarians and in terms of how women are portrayed in the media and in public spaces," she said.

"There are still outdated stereotypes that exist and they need to be challenged.

"Political parties have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their parliamentarians.

"And NWC is undertaking current new research in examining how political parties are supporting female parliamentarians, and other members, who are experiencing high levels of online abuse and harassment - and what protocols that they have in place to protect their members."

Advertisement