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End Discrimination and Violence

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SDG 5.1.1 Whether or not legal frameworks are in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non‑discrimination on the basis of sex, is reported on in a questionnaire by UN Women, the World Bank Group and the OECD Development Centre in their joint effort to collect and track data relating to SDG 5.1.1.  The three organisations are committed to contributing valuable evidence and data to this global monitoring process and to supporting all countries to achieve SDG Goal 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.

As part of this joint initiative, the three organisations embarked on a data collection effort, working with national government ministries, national statistical offices as well as experts on gender equality and law.  The data collected through this process will be used to monitor progress under SDG 5.1.1 and support efforts to achieve a crucial goal within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: SDG 5. Ireland's response was completed by the Department of Health and the Department of Justice and Equality.  The data will be reported every two years.  Some of this information will also be published as part of the World Bank's Women Business and the Law initiative, and the OECD Development Center's Social Institutions and Gender Index.

Questionnaire

The questionnaire covers legal frameworks to promote, enforce and monitor gender equality and non-discrimination in the following four areas: 

Area 1. Overarching Legal Frameworks and Public Life
Area 2. Violence Against Women
Area 3. Employment and Economic Benefits
Area 4. Marriage and Family

Questions 1-12
Area 1. Overarching Legal Frameworks and Public Life

Questions under this section are aimed at collecting information on legal frameworks that address the issue of discrimination against women. These include questions on constitutions, political and public life, and citizenship, among others.

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Question 1: If customary law is a valid source of law under the constitution, is it invalid if it violates constitutional provisions on equality or non-discrimination?
'Customary law' is the legal system practiced in particular communities based on traditions.  Customary law may be codified or uncodified and may cover areas such as family, land, inheritance and others.

Is customary law recognized as a valid source of law under the constitution? 
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: Constitution of Ireland. 

Question 2: If personal law is a valid source of law under the constitution, is it invalid if it violates constitutional provisions on equality or non-discrimination?
'Personal law' includes law derived from religious belief and systematized into rules and regulations governing areas such as personal status, criminal law and commercial law.  Examples include Canon Law, Halakha Law, Hindu Law and Sharia Law.

Is personal law a valid source of law under the constitution? 
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: Constitution of Ireland.

Question 3: Is there a discrimination law that prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination against women? 
This question assesses whether there is a statutory, codified non-discrimination law which is broad in scope, and binds the public and private sectors that explicitly covers both direct and indirect discrimination?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Equal Status Act, as amended, Sections 3(1)(c) and (2).

Question 4: Do women and men enjoy equal rights and access to hold public and political office (legislature, executive, judiciary)? 
Answer: Yes. 
Legal Basis: Constitution of Ireland Article 16-1-1; Article 18-2 A; and Article 12-4-1.

Question 5: Are there quotas for women (reserved seats) in, or quotas for women in candidate lists for, national parliament?
This question does not cover voluntary or recommended quotas or financial incentives.  This question only assesses quotas for the lower house, such as a national or people's assembly.

a. Are there reserved seat quotas for women in national parliament? 
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

b. Are there quotas for women in candidate lists in elections for national parliament? 
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

Question 6: Do women and men have equal rights to confer citizenship to their spouses and their children? 
Answer: Yes
Legal Basis: Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956 (Amended version of 2004) Article 15A-(1) and Article 7.

Enforce and Monitor

Question 7: Does the law establish a specialized independent body tasked with receiving complaints of discrimination based on gender (e.g. national human rights institution, women's commission, ombudsperson)?
This question looks at institutions that have been established in addition to courts but are state bodies with a constitutional and/or legislative mandate to protect and promote principles of equality.  Although they are part of the state apparatus and funded by the state, they operate and function independently from the government. 
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

Question 8: Is legal aid mandated in criminal matters? 
Legal aid refers to legal advice, assistance and representation that is provided at no cost for persons without sufficient means or when the interests of justice so require. 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act, Section 5.

Question 9: Is legal aid mandated in civil/family matters?
'Legal aid' refers to legal advice, assistance and representation that is provided at no cost for persons without sufficient means or when the interests of justice so require. 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Civil Legal Aid Act, Section 27.

Question 10: Does a woman's testimony carry the same evidentiary weight in court as a man's?
This question covers the weight of women's evidentiary testimony in all court cases and does not include differences in testimony when executing contracts (i.e. marriage). 
Answer: Yes. 
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

Question 11: Are there laws that explicitly require the production and/or dissemination of gender statistics?
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

Question 12: Are there sanctions for noncompliance with mandated candidate list quotas, or incentives for political parties to field women candidates in national parliamentary elections? 

Are there sanctions for non-compliance with mandated quotas for women on candidate lists for national parliament?
Answer: 
No.
Legal Basis: 
No applicable provisions could be located.

Are there financial incentives for political parties to include women on candidate lists for national parliamentary elections? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act 2012, Section 42.

Questions 13-24
Area 2. Violence Against Women

Questions under this section aim at collecting information on legal frameworks that address violence against women.

'Violence against women' is defined as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.  "Gender-based violence", is violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately.  It includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion and other deprivations of liberty.

'Domestic violence' is defined as a form of gender-based violence commonly directed against women, that occurs within the private sphere, generally between individuals who are related through blood or intimacy.  Domestic violence may take on different forms, including physical, sexual, psychological, and economic violence.

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Question 13: Is there legislation on domestic violence that includes physical violence? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Domestic Violence Act 1996, Section 1(1).

Question 14: Is there legislation on domestic violence that includes sexual violence?
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

Question 15: Is there legislation on domestic violence that includes psychological/emotional violence?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Domestic Violence Act 1996, Section 1(1).

Question 16: Is there legislation on domestic violence that includes financial/economic violence?
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

Question 17: Have provisions exempting perpetrators from facing charges for rape if the perpetrator marries the victim after the crime been removed, or never existed in legislation?
Answer: Yes. 
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

Question 18: Have provisions reducing penalties in cases of so called honour crimes been removed, or never existed in legislation?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

Question 19: Are laws on rape based on lack of consent, without requiring proof of physical force or penetration?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act, 1990, Section 9; (Section 4 - (1); (Section 12).

Question 20: Does legislation explicitly criminalize marital rape or does legislation entitle a woman to file a complaint for rape against her husband or partner?
For the purposes of this question, the law explicitly criminalizes marital rape without qualifications when it provides, for example, that rape or sexual assault provisions apply irrespective of the nature of the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, by stating that no marriage or other relationship shall constitute a defence to a charge of rape or sexual assault under the legislation, or by explicitly covering spouses as a potential offender of the crime.

a. Does legislation explicitly criminalize marital rape? 
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

b. Does legislation entitle a woman to file a complaint for rape against her husband or partner? 
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act, 1990, Article 5(2).

Question 21: Is there legislation that specifically addresses sexual harassment?
This question is meant to capture whether there is a law that includes specific provisions on sexual harassment. 
'Sexual harassment' is defined as unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favour, verbal or physical conduct or gesture of a sexual nature, or any other behaviour of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation to another.  Sexual harassment may occur when it interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.  It may also occur outside the workplace, in public and private spaces and institutions, such as eve teasing, verbal harassment and street harassment.
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Employment Equality Act 1998 (as amended), Section 14A, Equal Status Act 2000 (as amended), Section 11.

Enforce and Monitor

Question 22: Are there budgetary commitments provided for by government entities for the implementation of legislation addressing violence against women by creating an obligation on government to provide budget or allocation of funding for the implementation of relevant programmes or activities?

Question 23: Are there budgetary commitments provided for by government entities for the implementation of legislation addressing violence against women by allocating a specific budget, funding and/or incentives to support non-governmental organizations for activities to address violence against women?

Question 24: Is there a national action plan or policy to address violence against women that is overseen by a national mechanism with the mandate to monitor and review implementation?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Action Plan, 2016-2021; COSC is the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.

Questions 25-34
Area 3. Employment and Economic Benefits

Questions under this section aim at collecting information on existing legal frameworks on non-discrimination on the basis of sex in different aspects of employment, and in the area of economic benefits, such as maternity, paternity, and parental leave and childcare. Please note that these questions do not cover public sector legal frameworks or employment.  This section captures legal frameworks applicable to employees in the private sector only.

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Question 25: Does the law mandate non-discrimination on the basis of gender in employment?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Employment Equality Act 1998, Sections 2, 6 and 8.

Question 26: Does the law mandate equal remuneration for work of equal value?
'Remuneration' refers to the ordinary, basic or minimum wage or salary and any additional emoluments payable directly or indirectly, whether in cash or in kind, by the employer to the worker and arising out of the worker's employment.

'Work of equal value' refers not only to the same or similar jobs but also to different jobs of the same value.

Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Employment Equality Act 1998, Section 19.

Question 27: Can women work in jobs deemed hazardous, arduous or morally inappropriate in the same way as men?
This question is designed to determine if there are specific jobs that women explicitly or implicitly are restricted from performing except in limited circumstances. Both partial and full restrictions on women's work are counted as restrictions.  For example, if women are only allowed to work in certain jobs within the mining industry, e.g. as health care professionals in mines but not as miners, this is a restriction.  Explicit restrictions on women doing certain jobs, such as mining, are examined, as are implicit restrictions stating that women cannot work in jobs deemed morally or socially inappropriate.  Where the law indicates that a given ministry or minister may promulgate regulations restricting women's work in particular industries, this is considered a restriction even if no such regulation has been issued.

a. Can women work in jobs deemed hazardous in the same way as men?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

b. Can women work in jobs deemed arduous in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

c. Can women work in jobs deemed morally inappropriate in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

Question 28: Are women able to work in the same industries as men?
This question is designed to determine if there are specific jobs that women explicitly or implicitly are restricted from performing except in limited circumstances.  Both partial and full restrictions on women's work are counted as restrictions.  For example, if women are only allowed to work in certain jobs within the mining industry, e.g. as health care professionals in mines but not as miners, this is a restriction.  Explicit restrictions on women doing certain jobs, such as mining, are examined, as are implicit restrictions stating that women cannot work in jobs deemed morally or socially inappropriate.  Where the law indicates that a given ministry or minister may promulgate regulations restricting women's work in particular industries, this is considered a restriction even if no such regulation has been issued.

a. Can women work in agriculture in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

b. Can women work in construction in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

c. Can women work in energy in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

d. Can women work in factories in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

e. Can women work in transportation in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

f. Can women work in mining in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes. 
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

g. Can women work in the water sector in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

Question 29: Are women able to perform the same tasks at work as men? 
This question is designed to determine if there are specific jobs that women explicitly or implicitly are restricted from performing except in limited circumstances.  Both partial and full restrictions on women's work are counted as restrictions.  For example, if women are only allowed to work in certain jobs within the mining industry, e.g. as health care professionals in mines but not as miners, this is a restriction.  Explicit restrictions on women doing certain jobs, such as mining, are examined, as are implicit restrictions stating that women cannot work in jobs deemed morally or socially inappropriate.  Where the law indicates that a given ministry or minister may promulgate regulations restricting women's work in particular industries, this is considered a restriction even if no such regulation has been issue.

a. Can women engage in jobs requiring lifting weights above a threshold in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes. 
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

b. Can women work in metalworking in the same way as men? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

c. Can women do the same job-related tasks as men? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

Question 30: Does the law allow women to work the same night hours as men?
This question is designed to determine whether nonpregnant and non-nursing women are prohibited from working at night or cannot work the same night hours as men.  Where the law indicates that a given ministry or minister may promulgate regulations restricting women's work at night, this is considered a restriction even if no such regulation has been issued.
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

Question 31: Does the law provide for maternity or parental leave available to mothers in accordance with the ILO standards?
'ILO Standard' is 14 weeks (or 98 days) of maternity leave and at least 2/3 of her previous earnings.  This question refers to the total percentage of wages covered by all sources during paid maternity or parental leave available to mothers.  When different percentages of wages are paid at different stages of maternity leave, a weighted average is calculated.  Allowances for a fixed number of days per year applied to family emergencies or child-related responsibilities are not considered parental leave.  This question covers the private sector only.  Employees in the public sector may receive additional benefits.

a. Is the length of paid maternity leave more than 14 weeks or 98 days? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004, Sections 4 and 5.

b. Is the length of paid parental leave available to mothers more than 14 weeks or 98 days? 
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

c. Is the percentage of wages paid during maternity leave at least 2/3 of previous earnings?
Answer: No.
Legal Basis: Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2013.

d. Is the percentage of wages paid to mothers during parental leave at least 2/3 of previous earnings? 
Answer: No. 
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

Question 32: Does the law provide for paid paternity or parental leave available to fathers or partners?
Provisions for circumstantial leave in which an employee is entitled to a certain number of days of paid or unpaid leave (usually fewer than 5 days) upon the birth of a child are considered paternity leave; even if the law is gender-neutral, such leave is not considered maternity leave as long as maternity leave is covered elsewhere by the law.  This question does not include circumstances where paternity leave is deducted from annual leave or sick leave.  Allowances for a fixed number of days per year applied to family emergencies or child-related responsibilities are not considered parental leave.

a. Is paid paternity leave available? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, Section 6.

b. Is paid parental leave available to fathers or partners? 
Answer: No. 
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

Enforce and Monitor

Question 33: Is there a public entity that can receive complaints on gender discrimination in employment?
This question is designed to determine whether the law establishes a public entity with the mandate to receive and investigate complaints on gender discrimination in employment. 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014, Section 9.

Question 34: Is childcare publicly provided or subsidized?
Childcare may take such forms as kindergartens or crèches, preschools, or day care centres.  This does not cover after-school, in-home care or informal child-minding arrangements.  This question covers both early childhood care (usually 0-2 years old) and preschool services (usually 3-5 years old). 

a. Is childcare publicly provided? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Official website of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

b. Is childcare subsidized? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Official website of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Questions 35-45
Area 4. Marriage and Family

Questions under this section aim at collecting information on the existing legal frameworks on different aspects related to marriage and family relations, including child marriage and equal rights of married and unmarried women and men in dealing with institutions.

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Question 35: Is the minimum age of marriage at least 18 years, with no legal exceptions, for both women and men?

a. What is the minimum age of marriage for boys? 
Answer: 18 years.
Legal Basis: Family Law Act (1995), Section 31(1)(a)(i).

b. What is the minimum age of marriage for girls? 
Answer: 18 years.
Legal Basis: Family Law Act (1995), Section 31(1)(a)(i).

c. Are there any exceptions to the minimum age of marriage? 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Family Law Act (1995), Section 33.

Question 36: Do women and men have equal rights to enter marriage (i.e. consent) and initiate divorce?
'Marriage' is defined in relation to the marriage laws or customs of a country.  The concept here refers to legally or formally recognized union of partners that has been recognized and registered by a government official, a state, an organization, a religious authority, a tribal group, a local community or peers. 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Constitution of Ireland - Article 41 (4); Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 (Revised) - Section 5 (1).

Question 37: Do women and men have equal rights to be legal guardian of their children during and after marriage?
'Marriage' is defined in relation to the marriage laws or customs of a country.  The concept here refers to legally or formally recognized union of partners that has been recognized and registered by a government official, a state, an organization, a religious authority, a tribal group, a local community or peers. 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 - Section 6 (1); Family Law (Divorce Act 1996 (Revised) - Section 10 (2).

Question 38: Do women and men have equal rights to be recognized as head of household or head of family?
This question does not assess gender inequalities in the tax code. 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located. 

Question 39: Do women and men have equal rights to choose where to live?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

Question 40: Do women and men have equal rights to choose a profession?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No restrictions could be located.

Question 41: Do women and men have equal rights to obtain an identity card?
For this question the answer is "Yes" if there is no national identity card that is universally accepted based on an implemented national registration system that issues national ID cards. 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: No applicable provisions could be located.

Question 42: Do women and men have equal rights to apply for passports?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Passport application form, Passport application procedures.

Question 43: Do women and men have equal rights to own, access and control marital property including upon divorce?
The answer to this question is based on whether husbands and wives married under the default property regime have equal ownership rights over property. 
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Married Women's Status Act, Articles 2, 3 and 4.

Enforce and Monitor

Question 44: Is marriage under the legal age void or voidable?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Family Law Act (1995), Section 31(1)(a)(i).

Question 45: Are there dedicated and specialized family courts?
Answer: Yes.
Legal Basis: Family Law Act, Section 38.

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SDG 5.2.1 Proportion of ever-partnered women and girls aged 15 years and older subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence by a current or former intimate partner in the previous 12 months, by form of violence and by age; there is information available from the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) in an EU-wide Study on Violence Against Women in 2012 and in the National Study of Domestic Abuse, 2003.  These data are classified as Tier 2 in the Tier Classification for Global SDG Indicators (See Background Notes) as they are not regularly produced by countries.

EU-wide Survey Violence against Women, 2012

The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) conducted a gender-based violence against women survey in 2012 - Violence against women: an EU-wide survey

This report is based on interviews with 42,000 women across the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU).  It shows that violence against women, and specifically gender-based violence that disproportionately affects women, is an extensive human rights abuse that the EU cannot afford to overlook.

The survey asked women about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including incidents of intimate partner violence (‘domestic violence’), and also asked about stalking, sexual harassment and the role played by new technologies in women’s experiences of abuse.  In addition, it asked about their experiences of violence in childhood.  What emerges is a picture of extensive abuse that affects many women’s lives, but is systematically under-reported to the authorities.  For example, one in 10 women has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, and one in 20 has been raped.  Just over one in five women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from either a current or previous partner, and just over one in 10 women indicates that they have experienced some form of sexual violence by an adult before they were 15 years old.  Yet, as an illustration, only 14% of women reported their most serious incident of intimate partner violence to the police, and 13% reported their most serious incident of non-partner violence to the police.

Physical and/or Sexual Violence

Physical Violence
Some 31% of women have experienced one or more acts of physical violence since the age of 15 years.  While women are most likely to indicate that they were pushed or shoved, excluding this form of violence has only a limited effect on the overall prevalence of physical violence, bringing it down from 31% to 25%.  This result reflects the fact that many women who say they have been pushed or shoved have also experienced other forms of physical violence.

Details of Intimate Partner Violence
One third of victims (34%) of physical violence by a previous partner experienced four or more different forms of physical violence.  The most common forms of physical violence involve pushing or shoving, slapping or grabbing, or pulling a woman’s hair.  Whereas in most cases violence by a previous partner occurred during the relationship, one in six women (16%) who has been victimised by a previous partner experienced violence after the relationship had broken up.  Of those women who experienced violence by a previous partner and were pregnant during this relationship, 42% experienced violence by this previous partner while pregnant.  In comparison, 20% experienced violence by their current partner while pregnant.

Details of Non-Partner Violence
One in five women (22%) has experienced physical violence by someone other than their partner since the age of 15 years.

What the survey asked?
Since you were 15 years old until now/in the past 12 months, how often has someone:

  • Pushed you or shoved you?
  • Slapped you?
  • Thrown a hard object at you?
  • Grabbed you or pulled your hair?
  • Beaten you with a fist or a hard object, or kicked you?
  • Burned you?
  • Tried to suffocate you or strangle you?
  • Cut or stabbed you, or shot at you?
  • Beaten your head against something?

Sexual Violence
In total, 11% of women have experienced some form of sexual violence since they were 15 years old, either by a partner or some other person.
One in 20 women (5%) has been raped since the age of 15 years.
Of those women who indicate they have been victims of sexual violence by a non-partner, almost one in 10 women indicates that more than one perpetrator was involved in the incident when describing the details of the most serious incident of sexual violence they have experienced.

What the survey asked
Since you were 15 years old until now/in the past 12 months, how often has someone:

  • Forced you into sexual intercourse by holding you down or hurting you in some way?
  • Apart from this, attempted to force you into sexual intercourse by holding you down or hurting you in some way?
  • Apart from this, made you take part in any form of sexual activity when you did not want to or you were unable to refuse?
  • Or have you consented to sexual activity because you were afraid of what might happen if you refused?

The questions on physical and sexual violence were asked separately regarding the current partner, previous partner and other persons.

Table 1.1 shows that 8% of women in Ireland had experienced physical and/or sexual violence in the last 12 months before the interview from any partner and/or a non-partner.  This was the same proportion as the EU average.

Show Table: 1.1 - SDG 5.2.1 Women who have Experienced Physical and/or Sexual Violence in the last 12 Months Before the Interview, by type of Perpetrator and EU Member State

The FRA survey shows that in the EU in 2012, 26% of those aged 18-19 years had experience of non-partner violence since the age of 15 compared with 17% of those aged 60 years and over.

In the 12 months prior to the interview, 9% of those aged 18-19 years had experienced non-partner violence compared with 3% of those aged 60 years and over. 

Violence from a partner had been experienced by 6% of those aged 18-19 years in the 12 months prior to the interview compared with 3% of those aged 60 years and over.  See Table 1.2 and Figure 1.1.

Show Table: 1.2 - SDG 5.2.1 Experience of Physical and/or Sexual Violence since the age of 15 and in the 12 Months Before the Interview, by Type of Perpetrator and Age Group, EU

Partner ViolenceNon-Partner Violence
18-19 Years59766827
30-44 Years1131711580
45-59 Years1219212471
60 Years and Over1062211017

26% of women in Ireland had experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15 by any partner and/or a non-partner.  This was lower than the EU average which was 33%.  See Table 1.3.

Show Table: 1.3 - SDG 5.2.1 Women who have Experienced Physical and/or Sexual Violence by Current and/or Previous Partner, or by any Other Person Since the age of 15, by EU Member State

Psychological Violence

The FRA survey approached this issue using a total of 17 questions about psychological violence by a respondent’s current or any previous partner.

The situations described in the questions have to do with issues such as:

  • Restricting a respondent’s movements
  • Jealousy or suspicion
  • Economic control
  • Making the respondent feel unworthy or fearful (directly or indirectly through threats/actions against children or others)

Women were asked how often they have experienced each behaviour in the relationship with their current partner, or if they ever experienced them in their earlier relationships.  Whereas questions on physical and sexual violence seek to collect more detail on the number of times a given type of violence has taken place, the psychological violence items describe situations which are typically ongoing and where it would be difficult for the respondent to indicate a clear count of the number of incidents.

Overall, 43% of women have experienced some form of psychological violence by an intimate partner, which includes other forms of abuse alongside psychologically abusive behaviour.  This may include psychologically abusive behaviour and other forms of psychological violence such as controlling behaviour (for example, trying to keep the respondent from seeing her friends or visiting her family or relatives), economic violence (such as forbidding a woman to work outside the home) and blackmail.

There are various forms of psychological violence.  These have been constructed from the survey questions as follows:

Controlling Behaviour:

  • Trying to keep the respondent from seeing her friends or visiting her family or relatives
  • Insisting on knowing where she is
  • Getting angry if she speaks to other men (or women)
  • Suspecting her of being unfaithful

Economic Violence:

  • Preventing the respondent from making decisions on family finances or shopping independently
  • Forbidding her to work outside the home

Abusive Behaviour:

  • Belittling or humiliating the respondent in public or in private
  • Forbidding her to leave the house or locking her up
  • Making her watch pornographic material against her wishes
  • Scaring or intimidating her on purpose
  • Threatening her with violence
  • Threatening to hurt someone else the respondent cares about

Blackmail With/Abuse of Children:

  • Threatening to take the children away from the respondent
  • Threatening to hurt them
  • Hurting them

Respondents could indicate all forms of psychological partner violence to which they had been subjected.  According to the results, while 35% of women have experienced controlling behaviour from their current or previous partner, almost equally as many (32%) have experienced some form of psychologically abusive behaviour.  Therefore, women’s experiences of psychological violence are not limited to forms of controlling behaviour that might not seem so severe to some, such as ‘getting angry’ when a woman speaks to other men.  But psychological violence encompasses a range of behaviour that is both controlling and abusive, and which serves to restrict women’s autonomy, freedom and sense of security in a variety of ways.

Women in Ireland were less likely to have had experience of psychological violence in a relationship than women in the EU.  In Ireland, 31% of women in 2012 had experience of psychological violence from a partner (current and/or previous) compared with 43% of women in the EU.  See Table 1.4 and Figure 1.2.

Show Table: 1.4 - SDG 5.2.1 Women who have Experienced Psychological Violence During the Relationship, by Type of Perpetrator and EU Member State

Current PartnerPrevious PartnerAny Partner (Current and/or Previous)
Ireland113731
EU-28234843

The FRA survey found that 13.0% of women in Ireland had experience of intimate partner physical violence during their lifetime and 1.4% in the previous 12 months. 

The corresponding rate for sexual violence was 8% and 0.7 % respectively.  See Table 1.5.

Show Table: 1.5 - SDG 5.2.1 Prevalence of Violence Against Women Based on data from Previous Surveys, Ireland

National Study of Domestic Abuse, 2003 Survey

The National Crime Council commissioned the National Study on Domestic Abuse (NSDA) survey in 2003 to provide a nationally representative picture of the nature, prevalence and impact of domestic abuse of women and men in Ireland. 

This research is the first national study ever in Ireland to include both women’s and men’s experiences of domestic abuse.  The survey was conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).  In total 3,077 interviews were completed with a nationally representative, random sample of women and men aged 18 and over. 

Details of the survey methodology are provided in Watson, D. and Parsons, S. (2005), Domestic Abuse of Women and Men in Ireland: Report on the National Study of Domestic Abuse, From the National Crime Council in association with the Economic and Social Research Institute. 

In 2003, 15% of women had experienced severe abuse, either physical, sexual or emotional, compared to 6% of men. 

Severe physical abuse had been experienced by 9% of women while 8% of women had experience of sexual abuse and 8% had been emotionally abused. 

Any severe or minor incidents of abuse had been experienced by 29% of women and 26% of men.  See Table 1.6.

Show Table: 1.6 - SDG 5.2.1 Lifetime Prevalence of Severe Abuse and Minor Incidents of Different Types for Women and Men

In 2003, 10.5% of people aged 18 years and over had experienced severe abuse, either physical, sexual or emotional.  Severe physical abuse had been experienced by 8.9% of women while 8.0% of women had experience of sexual abuse and 7.9% had been emotionally abused. 

The present partner of 3.0% of women was responsible for severe abuse of any kind, compared to 1.7% of men. 

In the last five years preceding the survey, 7.0% of women said they had received severe physical, sexual or emotional abuse, compared to 4.2% men.  See Table 1.7 and Figure 1.3.

Show Table: 1.7 - SDG 5.2.1 Detailed Prevalence of Severe Physical, Emotional and Sexual Abuse Over Time Periods by Gender

Severe Physical AbuseSevere Sexual AbuseSevere Emotional AbuseSevere Abuse of any Kind
Ever Abused8.987.914.5
Last Five Years4.22.94.57
Last Year1.40.72.13.2
Present Partner21.51.33
More Than One Partner0.80.71.31.7

In 2003, 14.5% of women had received severe abuse, compared to 6.2% of men.  The proportions of abuse varied widely by marital status. 

Just under one in ten (9.7%) married women were abused compared to one in twenty five (4%) married men. 

Nearly six in ten (58.3%) separated or divorced women had received severe abuse compared to three in ten (29.2%) men. 

11.6% of widowed women were abused, whilst only 2.3% of men were abused. 

The proportion of never married persons who had severe abuse was 16.8% for women and 7.7% for men.  See Table 1.8 and Figure 1.4.

Show Table: 1.8 - SDG 5.2.1 Detailed Prevalence of Severe Abuse to Women by Marital Status

LifetimeLast 5 YearsLast Year
Married9.73.82.6
Separated/Divorced58.321.412
Widowed11.61.30
Never Married16.811.63.7
All14.573.2

New National Survey on the prevalence of Sexual Violence in Ireland

In January 2019 the CSO issued a Press Statement regarding a request by the Minister for Justice to develop and deliver a new national survey on the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland.

The CSO's role is to support research and public policy by producing impartial and robust data reflecting Ireland’s economy, people and society.  In December 2017, at the request of the Minister for Justice and Equality, the CSO took part in a scoping group whose role was to consider the availability of data in relation to sexual violence and make recommendations regarding future requirements.  It became clear from the work of this group that there is a societal need for reliable data to assess the extent of the issue and to inform public policy with regard to prevention and response.  The result was a consensus on the need for a comprehensive national survey on the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland.

The CSO has now been charged with undertaking this work, the first stage of which will involve the CSO scoping a means of collecting this sensitive personal data in a manner which is confidential, ethical and designed to support accurate and reliable survey results.  Protecting the privacy and supporting the needs of all involved must be a priority.  Conducting this type of highly sensitive survey is a challenging departure for the CSO.  In order for the data to be robust, very explicit questions regarding behaviours associated with sexual violence may have to be asked of a number of respondents.  As a result, the design and implementation of this survey will require specialist expertise and training. It will involve consultation with key stakeholders and consideration of best practice from international statistical organisations regarding appropriate collection methods as well as identification of the skills, training and structures that may be required to support data gathering in this sensitive area.

Given the complexity and sensitivity of the survey, it is envisaged that the entire process of scoping, planning, executing and reporting on the survey may take in the region of 5 years and exact timelines will only emerge as scoping progresses. The provision of reliable, robust, objective and internationally comparable information requires that the planning and execution of this survey is undertaken in a professional and comprehensive manner. To do otherwise may compromise the quality of the resulting data. Careful planning is also required to ensure that the data collection model also ensures the privacy and safety of the respondent’s and those collecting the data.

The CSO is committed to working with stakeholders both nationally and internationally to design a survey which can both satisfy stakeholder needs and protect and respect all those involved with the survey including respondents.

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SDG 5.2.2 Proportion of women and girls aged 15 years and older subjected to sexual violence by persons other than an intimate partner in the previous 12 months, is reported under indicator SDG 5.1.1 above, with some additional data on sexual harassment presented here.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is multi-dimensional, ranging from physical forms through to verbal acts and non-verbal forms such as cyber harassment.

Existing studies about sexual harassment are mostly focused on working life or educational environments.  The FRA survey adopted a broader scope, asking respondents first if they have experienced specific forms of sexual harassment in any situation, before asking in more detail who was involved.  The information concerning the perpetrators allows the survey to distinguish incidents which are linked to various situations, not only in the context of employment.

The survey covered 11 possible acts of sexual harassment which were unwanted and offensive according to respondents.  In addition to examining the prevalence and nature of these acts, they can also be analysed in four broad groups:

Physical:

  • Unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing

Verbal:

  • Sexually suggestive, offensive, comments or jokes
  • Inappropriate invitations to go out on dates
  • Intrusive, offensive questions about private life
  • Intrusive, offensive comments about a woman’s physical appearance

Non-Verbal:

  • Inappropriate, intimidating staring or leering
  • Receiving or being shown offensive, sexually explicit pictures, photos or gifts
  • Somebody indecently exposing themselves
  • Being made to watch or look at pornographic material against one’s wishes

Cyber-Harassment:

  • Receiving unwanted, offensive, sexually explicit emails or SMS messages
  • Inappropriate, offensive advances on social networking websites or in internet chat rooms

Generally, the risk of exposure to sexual harassment is above average for women aged between 18 and 39 years.  More than one in three women (38%) aged between 18 and 29 years experienced at least one form of sexual harassment in the 12 months before the survey, as well as almost one in five women (24%) aged between 30 and 39 years.

The risk of young women aged between 18 and 29 years becoming a target of threatening and offensive advances on the internet is twice as high as the risk for women aged between 40 and 49 years, and more than three times as high as the risk for women aged between 50 and 59 years.

Sexual harassment is more commonly experienced by women with a university degree and by women in the highest occupational groups: 75% of women in the top management category and 74% of those in the professional occupational category have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime, compared with 44% of women in the occupational category ‘skilled manual worker’ or 41% of women who state that they have never done paid work.

In most cases of sexual harassment since a woman was 15 years old (68%), the perpetrator was somebody she did not know.  Other perpetrators of sexual harassment include people whom the woman knows (without specifying it further) (35%), someone related to a woman’s employment such as a colleague, boss or customer (32%), or a friend or an acquaintance (31%).

Out of all women who described the most serious incident of sexual harassment that has happened to them, 35% kept the incident to themselves and did not speak about it to anyone, 28% talked to a friend, 24% spoke to a family member or a relative and 14% informed their partner.  Only 4 % of women reported to the police, 4% talked to an employer or boss at their workplace and less than 1% consulted a lawyer, a victim support organisation or a trade union representative.

The full set includes all 11 items used in the questionnaire to measure sexual harassment. These are:

  • Unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing?
  • Sexually suggestive comments or jokes that made you feel offended?
  • Inappropriate invitations to go out on dates?
  • Intrusive questions about your private life that made you feel offended?
  • Intrusive comments about your physical appearance that made you feel offended?
  • Inappropriate staring or leering that made you feel intimidated?
  • Somebody sending or showing you sexually explicit pictures, photos or gifts that made you feel offended?
  • Somebody indecently exposing themselves to you?
  • Somebody made you watch or look at pornographic material against your wishes?
  • Unwanted sexually explicit emails or SMS messages that offended you?
  • Inappropriate advances that offended you on social networking websites such as Facebook, or in internet chat rooms?

The short set includes the following six items:

  • Unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing
  • Sexually suggestive comments or jokes that made you feel offended
  • Somebody indecently exposing themselves to you
  • Sexually explicit emails or SMS messages that offended you
  • Sending or showing sexually explicit pictures, photos or gifts that made you feel offended
  • Someone made you watch or look at pornographic material against your wishes

Table 1.9 shows the prevalence of sexual harassment since the age of 15 years, based on full and short sets of items measuring sexual harassment in 2012. 

Based on the full set of 11 items used as a measure, the survey found that 48% of Irish women had experienced sexual harassment since the age of 15 years.  This was 7% lower than the EU figure of 55%. 

Show Table: 1.9 - SDG 5.2.2 Prevalence of Sexual Harassment Since the age of 15, Based on Full and Short Sets of Items Measuring Sexual Harassment by EU Member State

Table 1.10 shows the prevalence of sexual harassment in the twelve months prior to the interview for the 2012 survey. 

Again looking at the full 11 items used as a measure in the questionnaire, the survey found that 19% of Irish women experienced sexual harassment in that period compared to 21% of women in the EU.

Show Table: 1.10 - SDG 5.2.2 Prevalence of Sexual Harassment in the 12 Months Before the Interview, Based on Full and Short Sets of Items Measuring Sexual Harassment by EU Member State

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SDG 5.3.1 Proportion of women aged 20-24 years who were married or in a union before age 15 and before age 18 is reported by the CSO, Vital Statistics Section.

According to the Irish Statute Book the legal minimum age for marriage in Ireland is 18 years for both sexes.

Section 31, 32 and 33 of the Family Law Act (1995) is the legislation governing marriages.

Section 31 - Age of Marriage

(1)(a)(i) A marriage solemnised, after the commencement of this section, between persons either of whom is under the age of 18 years shall not be valid in law.
(ii) Subparagraph (i) applies to any marriage solemnised:
(I) in the State, irrespective of where the spouses or either of them are or is ordinarily resident, or
(II) outside the State, if at the time of the solemnisation of the marriage, the spouses or either of them are or is ordinarily resident in the State.

(b) Paragraph (a) does not apply if exemption from it was granted under Section 33 before the marriage concerned.

(c) The requirement in relation to marriage arising by virtue of paragraph (a) is hereby declared to be a substantive requirement for marriage.

(2) Any person to whom application is made in relation to the solemnisation of an intended marriage may, if he or she so thinks fit, request the production of evidence of age with respect to either or both of the parties concerned.

(3) Where a request is made under subsection (2):
(a) refusal or failure to comply with the request shall be a proper reason for refusal of the application concerned, and
(b) if the request is complied with and the evidence shows that either or both of the parties is or are under the age of 18 years, the application shall be refused.

(4) Where a person knowingly:
(a) solemnises or permits the solemnisation of a marriage which, consequent on the provisions of this section, is not valid in law, or
(b) is a party to such a marriage,
the person shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £500.

Section 32 - Notification of Intention to Marry

(1)(a) A marriage solemnised, after the commencement of this section, in the State between persons of any age shall not be valid in law unless:
(i) the persons concerned notify the Registrar in writing of their intention to so marry not less than 3 months prior to the date on which the marriage is to be solemnised, or
(ii) exemption from this section was granted before the marriage under section 33.

(b) The requirement specified in paragraph (a) is hereby declared to be a substantive requirement for marriage.

(2) The Registrar shall notify each of the persons concerned in writing of the receipt by him or her of a notification under subsection (1).

(3) A notification under subsection (2) shall not be construed as indicating the approval of the Registrar concerned of the proposed marriage concerned.

(4)(a) The Minister for Health may make regulations for the purposes of this section and, in particular, in relation to the notifications provided for by subsections (1) and (2).
(b) A regulation under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the regulation is passed by either such House within the next 21 days on which that House has sat after the regulation is laid before it, the regulation shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to anything previously done thereunder.

(5) In this section “the Registrar” means the Registrar of Marriages for the district concerned appointed under the Marriages (Ireland) Act, 1844, or the Registration of Marriages (Ireland) Act, 1863.

There are some exceptions to the minimum age of marriage under Family Law Act (1995), Section 33.

Section 33 - Exemption of Certain Marriages from Section 31(1) and 32(1)

(1) The court may, on application to it in that behalf by both of the parties to an intended marriage, by order exempt the marriage from the application of section 31 (1) (a) or 32 (1) (a) or both of those provisions.

(2) The following provisions shall apply in relation to an application under subsection (1):
(a) it may be made informally.
(b) it may be heard and determined otherwise than in public.
(c) a court fee shall not be charged in respect of it and
(d) it shall not be granted unless the applicant shows that its grant is justified by serious reasons and is in the interests of the parties to the intended marriage.

Only two 16 year old female marriages were registered in 2019.  Each of the previous two years recorded eight 16 year old female marriages.  See Table 1.11.

13 Brides
In Ireland, thirteen 16-17 year old females got married in 2019
Show Table: 1.11 - SDG 5.3.1 Marriages Registered by Age of Bride, Relative Age of Groom

In 2019, the rate of marriages per thousand females was 1.2 for people aged 16 to 19 years.  This was a general downward trend over the five year period from a rate of 2.3 in 2014. 

The rate for 20 and 21 year olds was 1.5 and 1.9, respectively in 2019. 

An average rate of 3.6 was recorded in 2019 for 20 to 24 year olds.  See Table 1.12 and Figure 1.5.

Show Table: 1.12 - SDG 5.3.1 Rate of Marriages per 1,000 Females by Age

16-19 Years20 Years21 Years22 Years23 Years24 Years
20161.633.15.46.910.5
20171.32.22.14.258.2
20181.11.41.83.14.37.4
20191.51.51.93.226.9
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SDG 5.3.2 Proportion of girls and women aged 15-49 years who have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting, was reported on by European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).

3,780 women
Since 2011, there have been about 3,780 women living in Ireland who have undergone female genital mutilation

In Ireland Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal under the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012.  The offence of FGM is covered under Section 2 of the Act.  It  is also an offence, covered under Section 3 of the Act, if a person removes or attempts to remove a girl or woman from the State where one of the purposes for the removal is to have an act of female genital mutilation done to her.

Statistical Estimates of FGM

The following are extracts from the Health Executive Service website detailing information on Female genital mutilation (FGM).

Section 3 of the Act makes it a criminal offence to remove a girl from the state to mutilate her genitals.  Female genital mutilation (FGM) is defined as the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or any practice that purposely changes or injures the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.  The practice is internationally recognized as a human rights violation of women and girls.

Since 2011, there have been about 3,780 women living in Ireland who have undergone the mutilation.  The level of FGM continues to increase in Ireland.  The 2015 European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) Report suggests that the number of girls at risk of FGM in Ireland is between 158 (low-risk scenario) and 1,632 (high-risk scenario).  See Table 1.13.

The stated figures for FGM prevalence and risk of FGM date from 2011, therefore it is likely that the current figure is slightly higher.  Women and girls who have undergone this mutilation may present in various health care settings.

The HSE National Social Inclusion Office was involved in the production and dissemination of the second edition of Female Genital Mutilation Information for Health-Care Professionals Working in Ireland.

Ongoing work in this area includes plans to:

  • Support training
  • Raise awareness
  • Develop and strengthen appropriate referral and care pathways

It also includes plans to provide appropriate information to health professionals and members of communities in partnership with relevant community-led organisations.

The HSE support a Free FGM Treatment Service operating from the Everywoman Centre located in the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) in Dublin city centre.  It offers free, specialised, medical, psychological, sexual and reproductive care and counselling to all women and girls in Ireland who have experienced FGM.

Show Table: 1.13 - SDG 5.3.2 Proportion of Girls and Women Aged 15-49 Years who have Undergone Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

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