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Minister Flanagan announces further progress in Istanbul Convention ratification preparations

Final piece of legislation required has been introduced in the Seanad

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has announced further progress on Ireland’s implementation of the Istanbul Convention. Last night, he introduced the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2018 to the Seanad and thanked Senators for the warm welcome the Bill received.

The Minister said: “This Bill is significant for two main reasons. It is the last piece of the legislative jigsaw required to enable Ireland to ratify the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women and domestic violence. The majority of the actions necessary are contained in the Domestic Violence Act which passed earlier this year.

Secondly, this legislation, when enacted, will enable Ireland to prosecute violent crimes committed abroad by Irish citizens and residents in certain states. It is anticipated that this power will be rarely invoked but it is an important fall back mechanism for countries that have ratified the Convention.”
The Minister noted that while the Convention is primarily concerned about violence against women, for equality reasons Ireland has included in the legislation measures to address violence against men.
Ireland signed the Istanbul Convention in 2015. The Government immediately put an action plan in place to lead to ratification and these actions were later incorporated into the Second National Strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. Actions included:-

  • • Targeted education and training modules for An Garda Síochána, HSE, Tusla, and the Courts Service;
  • • Implementation of a risk assessment matrix by An Garda Síochána;
  • • Integrated 24 hour national helplines;
  • • Support for child witnesses of domestic and sexual violence.

In terms of legislation, the Government has enacted:-

  • • The Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017
  • • The Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 2017
  • • Domestic Violence Act 2018.

The early passage of the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2018 will allow for ratification of the Istanbul Convention in early 2019. Minister Flanagan has said he looks forward to all party support for this measure and he will endeavour to ensure it is enacted without delay. The Minister said he wants to send a strong message that this Government takes violence against women and domestic violence very seriously and that we will have robust laws in place to tackle these issues.