Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams today raised the issue of Domestic Violence legislation in the Dáil and in particular the case of Siobhan Phillips, a victim of domestic violence who was shot along with Garda Tony Golden in October 2015.
Speaking in the Dáil Teachta Adams said:
“I want to ask the Minister about the Domestic Violence Bill 2017. The purpose of this Bill is to consolidate and update the Domestic Violence Bill 1996 and the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 2002 into a new comprehensive Bill.
As you may be aware Minister Siobhan Phillips, a young woman who was grievously wounded in the same shooting in which Garda Tony Golden was killed, was the victim of sustained domestic violence.
Two days before she and Garda Golden was shot she went to Dundalk Garda station where despite obvious injuries she wasn’t able to make a statement and there was no private location for her in the station to speak to the Garda about her injuries.
Now the objective of the Domestic Violence Bill is, among other things, to make it easier for victims to avail of the court system and to link them with support.
But there is clearly a need for Garda protocols and facilities based on best international practise to allow victims of domestic abuse to have their complaints dealt with in a therapeutic and appropriate manner.
So when is the does the Minister expect this Bill to complete its legislative journey and when will it be enacted?”
Minister Bruton, standing in for the Taoiseach, said that it was in committee stage in the Seanad.
Commenting later after raising the issue in the Dáil the Sinn Féin leader said:
“It is not acceptable that victims of domestic violence are unable to make complaints to An Garda Síochána in a proper and fitting environment. The trauma of domestic abuse is significant. Women’s Aid reported in 2015 that there were 16,375 incidents of domestic violence in the state. One in three women has experienced psychological abuse by a partner while 15% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner.
We need protocols and resources put in place to provide for the victims of abuse to feel safe and confident to tell their stories to a trained Garda officer in a therapeutic setting.”