The Government has approved a Bill that will create an agency dedicated to tackle and reduce domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.
The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, has secured the Government’s approval to publish the Bill.
Not only does this Bill aim to tackle and reduce domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV), but it will also work to support victims and survivors.
This approval is one of a series of steps of significant progress to meet Minister McEntee’s commitment of having the new agency up and running in January.
Today, the Minister also announced that the position of CEO of the new agency will be advertised by the end of the month.
The Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Agency Bill 2023 follows a Government decision that an agency should be established under the Department of Justice.
This agency will help deliver on commitments under the Third National Strategy on DSGBV, with their Zero Tolerance approach.
The Bill will be introduced in the Dáil by Minister McEntee by the end of September.
Speaking about the Bill’s approval, Minister McEntee stated, “I am committed to our goal of having Zero Tolerance of domestic, sexual and gender based violence and am determined to deliver real reforms which last”.
“Recent Garda figures show the majority of homicides in this country have had a domestic abuse motivation. Unfortunately, we are all sadly familiar with all too regular stories of abuse and violence against women”.
“The Programme for Government rightly recognises this an epidemic – and I am determined to use my time as Minister for Justice to put in place reforms and structures that will tackle domestic, sexual and gender based violence and the attitudes which underpin it”.
McEntee continued, “We have responded strongly with the Zero Tolerance Strategy, which commits to an enhanced and joined-up Government response to tackling these crimes and to supporting victims and survivors. This will be done, as it is now, in close partnership with the organisations who work on the frontline”.
“I’ve also passed tough new laws, such as increasing the maximum sentence for assault causing harm – one of the most common offences in domestic abuse – from five years to ten years”.
The Minister added, “A key plank of the Zero Tolerance Strategy is the establishment of a dedicated statutory agency to drive and co-ordinate the Government’s response to DSGBV and ensure the delivery of excellent services to victims, survivors and persons at risk of DSGBV. The Bill to establish this agency is a top Government priority under the autumn legislative programme.”
The Bill will be published as soon as possible and then the Minister will introduce it in the Oireachtas with the aim of securing enactment before the end of the year.