Domestic violence 'elephant in room'

Thu, Mar 15, 2012, 00:00

THOSE GUILTY of domestic violence should be treated in the same way as an offender attacking someone on the street, Minister of State Kathleen Lynch has told the Dáil.

She said the State continued to pour significant sums of money into services for women and children seeking refuge from domestic violence but, she asked, “why are we not tackling the abuser?”

Repeating comments she made in the Dáil when the issue of funding for refuges was previously raised, Ms Lynch said it was the “elephant in the room”.

Stressing the matter “lies firmly under the equality remit of the Department of Justice”, she asked why affected women and children were being driven from their homes. They had “to go to Kerry and other places rather than remain in their own homes, yet we do nothing about the elephant in the room”.

It was “never a once-off occasion when someone is beaten up in their own home and the problem does not just affect women. Domestic violence is domestic violence and a small but significant proportion of men are abused domestically.

“We must really get serious about it and treat those who commit this heinous crime exactly as we’d treat somebody who beat you up going down the street.”

Ms Lynch was responding to Labour TD Jack Wall who said women suffering domestic violence in Kildare were being forced to go as far away as Kerry to seek refuge because the HSE had failed to provide sufficient funding to run Teach Tearmainn, a “state-of- the-art” facility that was completed in January.

The HSE had demanded it be opened but would only provide €100,000 to run it when €400,000 was required, he said.