Calls for family justice centre for domestic violence victims

Ireland needs a family justice centre to protect victims of domestic violence and ultimately save lives, a conference heard yesterday.

Such centres provide victims of domestic violence with a safe place to stay and with help to rebuild their lives.

Currently, services designed to help victims of domestic abuse are scattered throughout the community.

Campaigner Anne Delcassian, who called for a family justice centre to be opened in Ireland, said the number of women violently killed in Croydon, near London, plummeted when Europe’s first centre of its kind opened in the British town in 2005.

Ms Delcassian, whose sister Irene White, 43, was stabbed to death in her home in Dundalk, Co Louth in April 2005, was speaking at an international conference on domestic violence in Dublin, organised by the European Alliance Justice for Families.

Ms Delcassian said she had been told by a high-ranking garda detective that domestic violence was the biggest killer of women in Ireland.

“It has to stop,” she said. Ms Delcassian, co-founder of the newly-launched European Alliance Justice for Families, said there had been no improvement in murder rates since her sister, a mother of three, was brutally murdered.

At the conference was the uncle of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, Jean Pierre Gazeau, who is president of the Association for the Truth About the Murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a group he founded at the end of 2007 and which has 250 members.

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