Commission Calls for Urgent Implementation of Domestic Homicide Review Against Backdrop of Rising Number of Femicides

Following the alarming rise in the number of women killed in Ireland in 2022, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has called for the urgent implementation of a multi-agency Domestic Homicide Review in its submission this week to the Group of Experts on Action Against Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO).

While the State has commissioned an independent study into familicide and domestic homicide reviews, it has yet to progress legislation in this area despite a commitment in the 2020 Programme for Government. It is imperative that this legislation is progressed without delay, and that it draws on international best practice. Multi-agency reviews are an important component in prevention and eradicating these crimes, and are used to improve risk assessment and management and to identify gaps in policy and practice.

The Commission has made over 100 recommendations to Government in advance of GREVIO’s Evaluation visit to Ireland from January 30 and February 3, 2023, following the report submitted by the State in answer to GREVIO’s queries on its human rights responsibilities under the Istanbul Convention last August.

As national statistics also show an alarming increase in reported Domestic, Sexual & Gender Based Violence against women and girls (DSGBV), the Commission said that while it welcomes Government plans to introduce paid leave for victims and survivors of DSGBV in the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022, it recommends that the proposed 5 day provision be increased to 10, per rolling 12 month period, in line with best international practice.

We also recommend that a national campaign is rolled out highlighting the specific forms of DSGBV that disabled women and girls are subjected to, including disabled women’s experiences of coercive control, perpetration by caregivers and DSGBV in residential institutions. Specific campaigns should be complemented by the integration of disabled women’s experiences in general DSGBV awareness-raising measures.

Crucially, we are of the view that violence perpetrated by residents or carers in settings such as public and private nursing homes and mental health institutions should be recognised as domestic violence, given that the abuse is taking place where the victim/survivor is domiciled.

Other recommendations include:

On Coercive Control: Following the creation of the coercive control offence in the Domestic Violence Act 2018, the Commission notes that as the first prosecutions for this offence were recorded in 2020, there is limited data available at present to ascertain whether the offence is being adequately used to hold perpetrators accountable. We recommend the development of appropriate data collection, awareness-raising and training measures to ensure widespread knowledge of the existence and availability of the offence of coercive control.

On Human Trafficking of Women and Girls: We have made a number of recommendations concerning the human trafficking of women and girls. These include that provision of specific accommodation for victims of trafficking must be underpinned by a gender-specific and trauma-informed approach and the prompt publication of a Third National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking which closely aligns with the Third National Strategy, to ensure that all measures focused on combating DSGBV are coherent and coordinated.

On Data Collection: The Commission has previously expressed concerns about the quality of existing administrative data. In particular, we note with concern the CSO’s finding that approach to crime recording for domestic abuse results in an underestimation of such crimes, which is particularly evident in the case of sexual offences. Therefore we recommend that the State takes urgent action to improve the disaggregated data collected and used by An Garda Síochána and that the State works with stakeholders to develop a comprehensive statistical database containing robust data on DSGBV from different administrative sources.

Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said:

“Violence against women has reached crisis levels in Ireland. The State is obliged to do everything in its power to keep women and girls safe, in our communities and in our homes. This means a zero tolerance culture toward all forms of men’s violence against women, ranging from verbal abuse to domestic homicide.”


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Download Ireland and the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

Editors notes:

GREVIO is the independent expert body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). GREVIO’s role is similar to that of UN Treaty Bodies.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, is the first legally binding instrument that creates a comprehensive legal framework to combat violence against women and girls. It opened for signatures in May 2011. Following the ratification of 10 States Parties, it entered into force in August 2014.

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.