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NGOs come together to raise awareness about domestic violence in Dublin

Domestic Violence is a menace in our society | Picture source- Pixabay

A coalition of not less than 15 NGOs, came together under the umbrella of the Irish Observatory on Violence Against Women, to raise awareness against domestic violence. The event was held at the Morrison hotel, Dubin.

The event featured keynote speeches by professionals from several works of life.

The major keynote speakers for the event were Frances Fitzgerald (Member of the European Parliament), Drew Harris (Garda Commissioner of Ireland) and Norah Gibbons (Chair of the independent review into familicide and domestic homicide).

Anchored by Frances O’Malley Dunlop, it kicked off with her introducing of the Irish Observatory and giving details about the purpose of the event.

In her opening address, she told attendees that the observatory is an independent network of several groups that fight violence against women.  

Frances Fitzgerald (MEP), talking from a European perspective, about the fight against gender-based violence. | Picture credit- Precious Olawuyi

She made it known that the event was being held to mark the end of 16 days of global activism against gender-based violence.

A distinguished member of the European Parliament, Frances Fitzgerald, was there to talk about gender-based violence from a European perspective.

She said in her address that, a lot of women are trafficked into Ireland on a daily basis, however, what is most shocking is the fact that the traffickers never think they would ever get caught.

She said that now in Ireland, nurses are being trained in recognising domestic violence and trafficking however; some other European countries have refused to support the continental fight against the menace.

Explicating further on her assertion, she said, “there are climate change deniers in every country, there are violence deniers in every country and there are traffic deniers in every country. ”

The European parliamentarian, however, emphasised that, if violence against women is going to be stopped, it would require cooperation and determination on the highest level.

Drew Harris (Garda Commissioner of Ireland) said that domestic violence is in fact, a serious offence | Picture Credit- Precious Olawuyi

The second keynote speaker, in the person of Drew Harris (Garda Commissioner of Ireland), spoke extensively on the role of the Garda in the fight against gender-based violence.

In his address, he said that domestic violence is one of the least prosecuted crimes in Ireland, yet one of the most dangerous to the family. 

He further expatiated this by giving insights into the fact that, the crime is characterised by silence. He however stated, there is a special unit called, the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB).

He said the unit is made up of special investigators, with the duty of gathering evidence on serious crimes of this nature.

To close the different public addresses, the third keynote speaker, Norah Gibbons (Chair of the independent review into familicide and domestic homicide), gave an extensive talk.

Norah Gibbons, who happens to be trained social worker and a senior member of the society, drew from her many years of experience, to give information about the topic and the role the media plays in it.

She said that the media should be careful not to display pictures of children and other vulnerable victims. She also said that there should be no over description of victims and cases still before the court of law should not be reported in the news.

There were several keynote speakers at the event from all works of life. | Picture credit- Iyebiye Olawuyi

Further, on the state of children in a domestic abuse situation, she said: “if there is domestic violence in a home (even if it’s just one), the children are abused too.”

After the keynotes were done, conversations continued in the room, about the importance of openness and collaboration in the fight against domestic violence.

A panel discussion was later held, which included academics, policymakers and domestic violence survivors to mention a few, in a bid to further the awareness about domestic violence in our society.

How often do you hear about cases of domestic violence in your community? What initiatives do you think could be taken to curb the menace?

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