Tackling violence against women

 

Sir, – I agree with Orla O’Connor (Opinion & Analysis, April 23rd) on how data holds the key to tackling violence against women and that robust evidence is essential to develop and inform policies that seek to address this human rights abuse.

As director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) – which in 2014 published the first EU-wide survey on violence against women that included interviews with 1,567 women in Ireland – it is clear to me that the law can be underpinned and changed by data that serves to show the extent and nature of violence as women experience it.

Alongside producing data on women’s experiences of domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, the FRA’s survey tapped into some of the most pervasive but hidden forms of violence, as well as emerging forms of abuse that utilise the internet and social media to inflict “cyber-harassment” and “cyber-stalking” on women.

While official criminal justice statistics suffer from under-reporting of crime and an inability to document newly emergent crimes if they are not recognised in law, survey data can fill this gap in our knowledge base.

As FRA’s survey is currently being replicated in ten countries outside the EU, this can be an inspiration for further data collection in Ireland to inform policy responses in tackling violence against women. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL O’FLAHERTY,

Director,

European Union Agency

for Fundamental Rights,

Schwarzenbergplatz,

Vienna.