The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee today welcomed approval from the Oireachtas for Ireland to opt in to the first piece of EU legislation specifically addressing violence against women and domestic violence.
The European Commission has identified gaps in protection and support measures across the European Union, and with this proposal is seeking to align EU law with established international standards, most notably the Istanbul Convention.
Under Protocol 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the government requires the approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas to opt in to the EU directive.
Minister McEntee said:
"We are looking forward to engaging with our EU partners to shape a progressive and effective approach to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence for the Union.
"I will shortly publish our new national strategy to combat domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and it is clear that DSGBV is an issue we need to tackle on all fronts – both domestically and at an EU level.
"While this EU directive is a detailed and comprehensive measure, a lot of what is being proposed is not new for Ireland. But we can always strive to go further and encourage our EU partners to do likewise.
"I believe that along with the publication of the new national Strategy, which is comprehensive and forward-thinking, Ireland can and will drive real progress in combatting these horrific crimes."
This EU Commission proposal aims to ensure effective prevention of such violence, protection from violence, access to justice, victim support, and strengthened coordination across the Union.
It also aims to ensure that sexual harassment and cyber violence are addressed effectively.
While Ireland’s response can be said to be more developed that some other member states, it is felt that these type of crimes are unlikely to significantly decrease across the European Union without additional EU action and commitment to combat domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.