Ambitious strategy on gender-based violence can pave way to Zero Tolerance society

28 June 2022


Dublin Rape Crisis Centre today (28 June) welcomed the launch by An Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister for Equality Roderic O’Gorman of the Third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence 2022-2026, greatly anticipated by many organisations working to end such violence in Ireland. 

Particularly welcome, said DRCC CEO Noeline Blackwell, is the publication of a practical and detailed implementation plan with the strategy: “The current Programme for Government recognises that sexual and other forms of gender-based violence are an epidemic in our society. As we have recently seen in other spheres, ending an epidemic requires a wide range of agencies acting in concert to support those harmed, stop those perpetrating harm, and prevent people being harmed in the first place. This plan launched today is central to making that happen.” 

Ms Blackwell said that the strategy and its solutions had to be broad enough to take account of all forms of gender-based harm, including newly emerging as well as long-standing forms. She noted that while all genders are affected by such harm, the evidence shows it disproportionately affects women and is carried out by someone known to the person who is harmed. 

“It was so heartening to hear An Taoiseach say at the launch, ‘We can do it – we will do it’. The government’s commitment to protect survivors and prosecute and prevent gender-based violence, as detailed in this strategy and implementation plan, has the potential to build a safer country, a zero tolerance society. We welcome the joint approach, right across government, as we know from experience that gender-based violence permeates all aspects of our society and it will take a wide range of actors to tackle this dreadfully pervasive issue,” said Ms Blackwell. 

She noted that the plan must have a system in place to monitor and evaluate its impact and effectiveness and to allow its progress to be tracked.  

Ms Blackwell also said it was very welcome to see measures to address sexual harassment in workplaces generally, as well as in the creative community and in the defence forces particularly. She singled out its focus on reaching marginalised communities, training frontline staff to understand the needs of victims/survivors and reform of sex education in schools. There was recognition too in this plan of the need for increased legal support for victims going to court, and abhorrence expressed by ministers at the launch towards any idea of exploitation of vulnerable people, especially refugees fleeing war. 

“People in wider society can play their part by refusing to tolerate any form of gender-based violence and supporting those who experience it, but today is the day when our government undertakes to step up to its responsibilities to respect, protect and fulfil their human rights obligations to the people of this land by declaring zero tolerance of all domestic, sexual and gender-based violence,” concluded Ms Blackwell. 


Notes for editors:    

  1. You can read DRCC’s collected submissions on the draft national strategy at  
  2. The Third National Strategy and implementation plan are online at  
  3. Dublin Rape Crisis Centre is a non-governmental, voluntary organisation which has as its mission to prevent the harm and heal the trauma of rape. It offers a suite of services to victims/survivors of sexual violence.   
  • DRCC operates the National 24-hour Helpline1800 778888to support anyone affected by sexual violence in any part of the country. A webchat support service is available online at Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm. A Helpline Interpreting Service is available for those who do not speak English - more at 
  • For those contacting the Helpline who are deaf or hard of hearing, we provide a text service, operating Mon-Fri from 8am to 6:30pm, at 086-8238443 and we also have a webchat service available Mon-Fri, 10am to 2pm (excluding Bank Holidays)
  • DRCC offers counselling & therapy to clients and provides accompaniment to the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, to court or to Garda stations to people in Dublin and in surrounding areas, by arrangement.    
  • We have outreach offices at Coolock, Dóchas Women’s Centre, Balbriggan & Tallaght. Access to these services must be arranged via the National Helpline 1800 778888 during working hours, Mon-Fri.    
  1. We ask that when reporting on this topic, journalists should remember that discussions on sexual violence can trigger personal trauma in those receiving the information. Where possible, please make reference to the National 24-hour Helpline 1800 77 88 88for anyone who may be affected by the report.