Dr. Stephanie O’Keeffe, CEO of Cuan Visits Pavee Point

Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre welcomed Dr. Stephanie O’Keeffe, newly appointed CEO of Cuan, the Domestic and Sexual & Gender Based Violence (DSGBV) Agency on her visit today, which started with a tour of the work of its individual programmes.

The Violence Against Women Programme briefed Dr. O’Keeffe on its work on a dedicated Traveller DSGBV project in collaboration with Wicklow Travellers Group, Donegal Travellers Project, Galway Traveller Movement, St. Catherine’s Community Services Centre, Cork Traveller Visibility Group and Cavan Traveller Movement. The Consent Education Project in collaboration with Galway Rape Crisis Centre and TUSLA Child & Family Agency was also included in the briefing.

It was discussed that domestic and sexual violence isn’t part of Traveller and Roma culture, as 1 in 4 women in Ireland experience DSGBV at some point in their life. However, Traveller and Roma women experience particular barriers and challenges in leaving violent relationships and seeking safety and protection. For example, Traveller women facing difficulties accessing refuge due to age limits imposed on male children or the refuge being unable to accommodate large family sizes. Roma women who are unable to satisfy their right of residence and the Habitual Residence Condition (HRC) are unable to exit violence and access essential emergency and long-term supports.

Ethnic Quality Monitoring was also discussed, highlighting the need for ethnic and gendered disaggregated data, as well as the requirement of ethnic quality monitoring, inclusive of an ethnic identifier and in line with human rights standards across all DSGBV services. Dr. Stephanie O’Keeffe committed to developing standards within the DSGBV sector in terms of policies and the operation of procedures, which was welcomed by the VAW Programme. Kateriona Nevin, Community Worker on the VAW Programme said “we welcome the commitments from Cuan around embedding ethnic equality monitoring into the DSGBV sector, and working in collaboration to develop standards for service provision to ensure successful pathways for Traveller and Roma women.’

Bridget Winters, Coordinator of the VAW Programme stated the ‘we look forward to working with Dr. Stephanie O’Keeffe and Cuan in close collaboration to ensure positive outcomes for Traveller and Roma women to seek safety, protection and to be able to exit violence’.

Photos by © John McElroy Photography; All rights reserved.