Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, welcomed Ireland’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention and has called for greater supports for women facing dangerous and life threatening situations like domestic violence. The Sinn Féin TD said that ratification will mean that extra resources will need to be identified to support vulnerable women, including providing additional women’s refuges across the State.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The passing of the terms of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, is a highly symbolic and important step forward.

“I want to warmly welcome the International Women’s Day ratification of this Convention, after a long campaign by women’s rights groups and organisations working to end violence against women.

“The Convention is based on the understanding that such violence is a form of gender-based violence that is committed against women because they are women. It is the obligation of the State who signs up to the Convention to fully address this gender-based violence in all its forms and to take measures to prevent violence against women, protect victims, and prosecute the perpetrators. This means greater priority and resourcing for the judiciary and for An Garda Síochána, whose response in the past has been inconsistent and at times lacking.

“The Convention leaves no doubt, there can be no real equality between women and men if women experience gender-based violence on a large-scale and state agencies and institutions try to turn a blind eye.

“Now that it has been ratified practical work must be done to address the chronic lack of refuge spaces available.  We currently only have one third the recommended amount and many regions are severely lacking spaces. Some women currently have to move to a different county to get a bed or somewhere safe for their children.

“The Convention’s framework means that the onus is now on the State to protect women and children, and to work towards eliminating violence against women. This means the State is responsible for tackling the root causes, and implementing policies and measures that will allow women to move away from what can be violent and coercive relationships.”

Crowe concluded:

“Following the ratification we collectively as a society need to extend a special thank you to all those women who showed such bravery in waiving their anonymity and speaking out publicly about their own personal experiences of domestic and sexual violence and abuse, and their harrowing experiences, in far too many cases, of being re-victimised in family and criminal courts.

“This signing now means that the States response will have to include new approaches, new resources, and a new mind set when it comes to ending violence against women.”