New garda register for those convicted of domestic violence to be rolled out

New garda register for those convicted of domestic violence to be rolled out

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee at the launch. She said the plan was being 'developed with the pain and suffering and heartache of too, too many women and victims' in mind. Picture: Maxwells

Anyone convicted of domestic violence charges will be placed on a new garda register under measures contained in a €363m zero-tolerance strategy on domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee has met twice with garda commissioner Drew Harris to discuss the rollout of the new domestic violence register.

Ms McEntee has asked Mr Harris to come back with details on how the final register would work and who could access it "as soon as possible".

The Minister for Justice & Equality, Helen McEntee has met with garda comissioner Drew Harris twice to discuss the rollout of the register. Picture: PA
The Minister for Justice & Equality, Helen McEntee has met with garda comissioner Drew Harris twice to discuss the rollout of the register. Picture: PA

While the gardaí are currently developing proposals, it is expected that it would be similar to the sexual offenders register.

The appointment of specialised judges to preside over domestic, sexual and gender-based violence cases is also being developed as part of the strategy and the jail term for those convicted of assault causing harm will be doubled from five years to 10 years.

Ms McEntee described the publication of the five-year strategy as a "landmark day" and, citing the death of teacher  Ashling Murphy, she said the plan has been "developed with the pain and suffering and heartache of too, too many women and victims" in mind.

"I think we owe it to them, to their memories, to their families, to keep that zero tolerance as our absolute minimum goal."

She added: "Zero tolerance means we don’t turn a blind eye to violence and abuse just because it’s behind closed doors. It means we don’t laugh off inappropriate touching or comments. It means we teach our children equality and respect from a young age."

The Central Statistics Office will be tasked with conducting a domestic violence prevalence survey, which will give a true representation of the issue for the first time and will help Government and the various bodies plan adequate supports.

A statutory agency for domestic, sexual and gender based violence will be established by January 2024 which will be responsible for the provision of refuges, awareness campaigns and fully implementing the strategy.

The zero-tolerance strategy also seeks to clearly identify children and young people as both witnesses and victims and survivors.

As part of this, the curriculum across primary and second level will be overhauled to include consent, coercive control, domestic violence, and safe use of the internet.

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