The Crumlin based Senator raised the matter in Seanad Éireann this week to coincide with a two-day international summit held by leading agency, Safe Ireland to highlight domestic violence and abuse.
She said, “It is evident from a number of recent high profile cases that many women and men in Ireland are experiencing physical violence, psychological turmoil or financial abuse by an intimate partner.
“Statistics show that more women than men are affected but this is an issue that affects us all. In 2017, some 15,833 disclosures of domestic violence against women were recorded by the Irish non-for-profit, Women’s Aid. The annual report published by men’s support charity, Amen indicated that in 2016, 5,196 disclosures of domestic abuse were made.
“As legislators, it is incumbent on us to be more conscious of these crimes and to better ensure that the correct supports are in place for those suffering domestic violence or abuse.
“Getting out of an abusive relationship is very often hinged on a person’s ability to attain legal representation or advice. This is especially the case when a victim must pursue a complex legal matter, court approval for a barring, safety or protection order.
“Our Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill 2018 which seeks to afford greater legal support and protection to the victims of crimes of this nature has just passed Second Stage in Dáil Éireann. It was referred to committee stage earlier this month.
“Fianna Fáil is examining more practical measures too including the introduction of paid work leave for victims of domestic abuse.
“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month but the focus on improving the supports offered and minimising the fears for those suffering physical, sexual or mental abuse must continue.
“By the statistics, there is likely someone in all our lives who has faced, or is facing, domestic violence of some degree.
Senator Ardagh concluded, “As a society we must first examine why we create and sustain domestic violence and then spur for positive social change. “