Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has issued a stern warning to those who “derived false strength” by preying on vulnerable people behind the closed doors of their home.
“These people are very shameful in their cowardice. I certainly don’t want to rest until this is stopped,” she said.
Ms Fitzgerald was speaking at a conference in Dublin hosted by Barnardos to highlight the impact of domestic abuse on children.
“Children living with domestic violence are among the most vulnerable in our society and are absolutely in need of our protection and support. They live in a situation that is an unimaginable horror,” she said.
Ms Fitzgerald said the Domestic Violence Bill that would be published in the next two weeks would allow experts to get the views of children affected by the orders being sought.
It would also be possible for a victim to give evidence by a televisual link to avoid the risk of intimidation by the perpetrator or an associate in civil and criminal proceedings.
However, despite the improvements in how society responded to domestic violence, there was so much work to be done.
“The battle against domestic violence is one that will never end,” said Ms Fitzgerald.
“It is not acceptable that children live in fear and intimidation. The devastating effect on these children cannot be overstated.
“Physical injuries are obvious. Trauma, fear and stress may be less visible but can be even more damaging,” she said.
Ms Fitzgerald said Barnardos was an important organisation contributing significantly to the efforts made to secure a better future for children.
Earlier, the chief executive of Barnardos Fergus Finlay said Ireland had a problem facing up to domestic abuse. Every day the charity saw the tremendous impact domestic violence was having on children, even if the children were not direct victims.
“Living in an abusive environment leaves a massive emotional scar on a child and often results in deep anxiety or aggressive outbursts, never mind the impact on their health, schooling, peer relationships and other developmental aspects. It is, simply, a form of child abuse,” said Mr Finlay.
Barnardos knew that without appropriate support there was a huge risk of irreparable damage to the child-parent relationship and, the cycle of abuse continuing.
Research showed children who grew up experiencing domestic abuse were more likely to become perpetrators or victims in their adult life.
“Domestic violence destroys lives, and domestic violence is primarily enabled by secrecy. We have got to get it out from behind the locked front door of homes,” he said.
He shouted at my friends
Mum kicked on ground
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved