Istanbul Convention Combating Violence Against Women Enters Force in Ireland

Human Rights and Equality Commission Sets out Priority Areas for State Action

 The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (“the Commission”) has marked the entry into force today of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, by setting out its recommendations for key priority actions from the State.

The Commission, as Ireland’s national human rights and equality body, will actively participate in monitoring the implementation of the Convention in Ireland, and will independently reporting to the Council of Europe’s expert body (called GREVIO) on State progress to combat and prevent violence against women and domestic violence.

In a policy statement issued today to all Oireachtas Members to mark the entry into force of the Convention, the Commission set out priority areas for policy and legislative action to meet State obligations under the Istanbul Convention:

  • Data collection and reporting mechanisms on violence against women are currently lacking must be made more robust if the State is to understand the nature and scale of the issue.
  • Focus is required on combatting violence against specific groups of women such as women with disabilities, women from Traveller and Roma communities, LGBTI+ women and women in institutional settings.
  • The State is required to develop gender-sensitive asylum and reception procedures and support services for asylum seekers – overall the protection of women from violence should be central to immigration reform.
  • Access to specialist support services must be improved. Recent reports indicate that Ireland has less than a third of the number of domestic violence refuges it is required to have under EU standards, nine counties have no refuges. Services for victims must receive sustainable funding to meet diverse needs including for those with disabilities, and those who need interpretation
  • Access to justice for victims must be prioritised through training for Gardaí and prosecutors. Changes are required in the courts to ensure victims and children’s rights are protected during proceedings.
  • Promotion of gender equality – While the recent State awareness campaign on sexual violence and harassment is welcome, specific groups should be targeted for information including women and girls with disabilities. The Commission is also concerned about the limited access to comprehensive relationship and sexuality education for children in Ireland, including education that raises awareness of and fosters responsible sexual behaviour.


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Editor’s Note

The full policy paper: Statement on the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has since its establishment consistently sought the ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention in the following:

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.

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