Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Kathleen Funchion TD, has said more must be done to support women experiencing domestic violence.
Today is the 30th Anniversary of the annual 16 Days of Activism campaign, designed to raise awareness of gender-based violence.
Teachta Funchion said:
“The Global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign begins today, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of the campaign to raise awareness about violence against women.
“This year Women’s Aid and other organisations have organised a series of webinars and public awareness campaigns highlighting intimate relationship abuse among young people (aged 18-25), as well as domestic violence during pregnancy and Femicide. I want to commend their work to highlight these important issues.
“Sadly, domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any age including young people. Research shows that 1 in 5 young women have suffered intimate relationship abuse. 51% of these young women experienced this before the age of 18.
“It is vital that young people are aware of this issue including how to spot the signs of abuse, how to seek support if they experience abuse in a relationship and how to support others who may experience it.
“Domestic violence during pregnancy is an aspect of abuse which often goes ignored. Research shows that 30% of women who experience domestic violence are physically assaulted for the first time during pregnancy. Much more must be done to raise awareness of this and support women in coming forward for help during pregnancy.
“I have long raised my profound concerns that the State continues to fail women of all ages fleeing domestic violence, particularly in relation to the lack of sufficient refuge spaces. Ireland continues to have an undersupply of refuge spaces in excess of 350 spaces- this affects people of all ages and from all walks of life.
“Most shocking is the fact that nine counties are without any refuge at all, including in my own constituency of Carlow.
“The surge in reports of domestic violence has been one of the most concerning aspects of the national lockdown during the pandemic and the absence of necessary funding in Budget 2022 further demonstrates that the State is simply playing lip service to women in horrific situations.
“This evening I will be attending the “And They Tell Me… “ cultural art action event taking place at IMMA. I look forward to attending this and continuing these important conversations about this issue. This event and others like it are important to break the silence and ensure human rights abuses and their impact are eradicated. We must send the message loud and clear that violence against women must never be tolerated.”