Domestic violence is a cause of shame for Ireland, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil.
He said “violence against women is a terrible blight on society” and it was a priority issue for the Government and An Garda, and would be dealt with as a crime.
Mr Kenny was responding to calls for funding for services dealing with men who are violent.
Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan said men were the main perpetrators of domestic violence and they had to be part of the solution.
She said last Christmas was the worst on record for domestic violence against women, much of it carried out in front of children.
She said “it is vital men are encouraged to acknowledge abusive behaviour and to try to prevent it”.
Acknowledging the work of the organisation Move (Men Overcoming Violence), Ms O’Sullivan called for a commitment in the Dáil to fund a dedicated helpline, support groups and a campaign of awareness of the help available.
She also urged the Taoiseach and Government departments to support it.
She said a pilot programme could be introduced to support the work of Move.
The Dublin Central TD said that Cosc – the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence – carried out a badly needed service but its work concentrated on the victims.
Mr Kenny said “those who inflict domestic violence on women bring shame to the nation”. He said some money had been allocated to groups dealing directly with the issue and new legislation would be introduced.
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