"Vital" that Bill to establish a Domestic Violence Register proceeds as quickly as possible - O'Loughlin

Published on: 04 July 2024

Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has said it is vital that her Bill to implement a Domestic Violence Register proceeds to the next legislative stage as quickly as possible.
O’Loughlin, who is the Chair of the Oireachtas Women’s Caucus, has written to Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, saying that recent high-profile cases of violence against women necessitate that her Bill, the Sex Offenders (Amendment) (Coercive Control) Bill 2023, proceeds to committee stage as soon as there is time within the Seanad schedule.
Senator O’Loughlin said: "The shocking attack on Natasha O'Brien was a violent and vicious assault which was unprovoked and I want to commend the bravery, courage and dignity of Natasha and the manner in which she has come forward.
“The attack was unfortunately just the latest high-profile example of gender-based and domestic violence which is a scourge in our country. We have to do everything we can to change this.
“According to Women’s Aid, in the publicly reported enforcement of the coercive control offence from January 2019 – May 2024, in 42% of cases, the victim had already obtained a protective order against the perpetrator.
“In 58% of cases the perpetrator had previous conviction(s) and/or was known to Garda. Women’s Aid themselves have warned that these figures are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as it is believed that a third of women will never come forward.
“These horrific statistics show how the existence of a Domestic Violence Register could help prevent domestic and gender-based violence. It would give the Gardaí a tool to be able to inform somebody, when asked, if their partner has a violent history. 
“I have written to Minister McEntee requesting a meeting to discuss my Bill to create a Domestic Violence Register.
“The Bill must be brought to committee stage as soon as there is time in the Seanad schedule.
“I launched my Bill with Jason Poole, the sister of Jennifer Poole, who was murdered by her ex-partner who had a history of domestic violence. Cases like Jennifer’s as well as recent high-profile cases like Natasha’s prove that as legislators we have a duty to leave no stone unturned in tackling violence against women and doing everything we can to protect women in similar situations.”