After the murder of Ashling Murphy, which has had a significant impact on the whole island, Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee (Fine Gael), during a debate on gender-based violence in the Dáil Chamber has claimed it will be a “long and difficult path” to change, gender-based violence. McEntee also said that she couldn’t make any promises that “no woman will suffer at the hands of a man tonight”.
McEntee will introduce new laws to make stalking and strangulation, criminal offences, which will cover all forms of modern communications. She promised to have these laws published before Easter. In these specific laws, stalking includes watching or following a victim, even if the said victim is not aware of it.
Choking and strangulation are already criminal offences, but McEntee added that she wants to create a “new standalone offence” in the hopes that it would encourage victims, especially victims of domestic violence, to come forward and report what happened to them.
Stalking Ireland, a campaign group set up to demand stalking legislation has welcomed this decision and thanked both Minister McEntee and Senator Lisa Chambers (Fianna Fáil), who published legislation to make stalking a stand-alone offence last year.