Statement on Ireland’s signature of Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women (Istanbul Convention)

Commission welcomes Ireland’s signature and encourages implementation of reforms and legislation to ensure Ireland ratifies without delay

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has today welcomed Ireland’s signature of the Istanbul Convention as a first step towards full ratification of the Convention.

Important progress has been made by the State, specifically in the General Scheme of the Reformed and Consolidated Domestic Violence Bill to update Ireland’s legislation in this area and to provide for interim barring orders, as well as additional supports for victims, including child victims of domestic violence.

The State’s signature today now requires further legislation, reform and specific actions to ensure the State can meet its human rights obligations under the Convention. 

The Commission notes the published timetable for actions to comply with the Istanbul Convention indicates that all measures will not be in place until the fourth quarter of 2017. We propose that at a minimum, the introduction of a co-ordinated national action helpline service for responding to domestic and sexual violence should be implemented without delay.

The Commission has previously recommended further reforms to the legislative framework in addition to measures to ensure adequate funding for refuges and support agencies to comply with the Istanbul Convention.

Among these recommendations were initiatives to address concerns raised by the Garda Inspectorate report 2014 which found that domestic violence is not always correctly recorded and there were a ‘high number of calls to domestic incidents with low volume of arrests recorded’.

These recommendations were made in submissions to the International Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in June this year, and to the UN Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review last month.

While the Commission would urge ratification without undue delay, it notes the State’s Action Plan for Implementation includes a timeline of late 2017 for all required legislation and other measures to ensure that Ireland is in a position to ratify the Convention. Measures required to comply include the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill and the Domestic Violence Bill; the introduction of a co-ordinated national helpline service for responding to domestic and sexual violence, and adequate funding for refuges and support agencies. 

Ends

For further information please contact Niamh Connolly, Communications IHREC, 01 8589601. Mob: 087 4399022 Twitter: follow us @_ihrec

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