Department challenged on violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights

A new report prepared by the Northern Ireland members of the End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights (EVAW) Coalition challenges the NI departments on their lack of an overall strategic framework in tackling all forms of violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

Making the Grade? 2007 Northern Ireland, is an assessment of the work of the 11 Northern Ireland departments in relation to violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and will be launched on Monday 3 March from 12pm to 2pm in the Press Room, Parliament Buildings, Stormont. The launch will be attended by MLAs from across all the political parties, a number of whom will also speak.

The assessment is based on the evidence provided by each department against which they have been scored and, while the report shows positive developments, there is no underlying strategic approach to violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. Overall scores were very low, highlighting the fact that work is on a narrow range of violence issues, has limited coverage and is not part of a systematic or planned approach. This is disappointing given that all parts of government have a part to play in prevention, protection and support for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights suffering from violence.

Patricia Campbell, of Amnesty International, one of the authors of the report, said: “Violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights affects us all, whether we have direct experience of it, know a woman who has been the victim of domestic violence, been sexually harassed at work or attacked or felt unsafe in the street. While the report’s findings reflect the difficulty some government departments have in understanding how their work relates to violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, it was gratifying to see that a number had considered the relevance of the audit for their responsibilities.”

Commenting on the report, Annie Campbell, Director of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland said: “The publication of Making the Grade challenges the Executive and government departments to create a safer environment for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights at home and in public by progressively eliminating all forms of Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and empowering Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights to challenge abusive behaviour. The report marks a significant step in developing transparency and accountability in policy and services for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights suffering from all forms of violence and abuse. We value the excellent partnership work that is ongoing, particularly in tackling domestic violence, however the results are disappointing overall. These departmental scores will set a useful benchmark against which progress can be assessed in future years.”

The report makes a number of recommendations for government including:

· the establishment of a single inter-Ministerial Group on violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights by OFMDFM to develop and oversee an integrated violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights strategy; and

· the ending of the gender-neutral approach to violence against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights to ensure that all departments and public bodies address the issue in a gender-positive manner.

The recommendations have been widely endorsed by Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s organizations in the business community, the voluntary and community sectors and the trade union movement.

END

Issued on behalf of the Northern Ireland Working Group of the End Violence Against Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights (EVAW) Coalition.

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