• Stop putting victims addresses on certain protection orders
    Under the Domestic Violence Act 2018, there are three different orders that victims of abuse can apply at the District Court. These are; Barring Orders, Safety Orders, and Temporary Protection Orders. In many cases, the perpetrator must be notified of an order against them - either orally by the applicant or Gardaí, or they will be notified of the order by post. An order does not take effect until it is served to the respondent. In the case of a protection order, or an interim barring order, the court usually directs that order to be served on the respondent by An Garda Síochána. . The Orders that cause the most issue are Barring or Safety orders as these have both the victims and the abusers addresses on them.
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    Created by Linda Hayden
  • Free period products in NI schools #MenstruationMatters
    Unlike England, Scotland and Wales, NI still does not have a budget or scheme in place for free period products in all school toilets. Yet again, we have been left behind. Schools already provide free toilet roll, hand soap, hand towels and sanitary waste disposal bins in toilets. What makes period products any different? We firmly believe that any toilet that requires toilet roll, requires period products in exactly the same way. In June 2020, a Plan international UK study showed how 3 in 10 UK girls have struggled to afford or access sanitary wear during lockdown, with over half (54%) of these girls having used toilet paper as an alternative. There is no doubt that period poverty has been exacerbated as a result of the current pandemic and the need to maintain good hygiene has never been more important. Due to extensive job losses, an increase in people using food banks, and many other local support services being cut, families have been hard hit and are under more financial pressure than ever. At the Homeless Period Belfast, we have seen an exponential increase in demand and requests for our own period packs. In April – June 2020 we received 3 times the demand than previous years. Now, more than ever, a free period products scheme in schools across NI will relieve the financial pressure on parents and students purchasing these items. It will also alleviate the pressure of school students having to remember to carry period products in their bags when there are many other things to worry about and remember to bring (exams, books, homework, hand sanitiser/masks, bus passes etc.), meaning students can go about their daily lives without getting caught out. Free period products in schools will ensure that every young person can learn and be their very best, without the worry of their next pad or tampon holding them back.
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    Created by The Homeless Period
  • Better lighting in Phoenix Park
    For years Phoenix Park has been providing a place for exercise and fresh air but has never been fully utilised during the winter months due to poor lighting.In these winter months, people have a right to use and feel safe in their parks. This is especially important during Covid restrictions when indoor facilities are closed.  Many of us have other responsbilities such as work, caring, school etc during day light hours. The lack of lighting in the park means people feel unsafe going to get the exercise needed for our mental and physical health. We want the OPW to enable the public make use of the park, even during dark evenings. Additional lighting could be installed for limited periods along the main road, helping people stroll, walk or run safely throughout the winter months.
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    Created by Cllr. Darcy Lonergan
  • Protect trans and intersex people from social media harassment
    It is vital that tran* and intersex people are not subject to abuse and harassment. Twitter should be a safe and supportive platform for all to use. At present, abuse is poorly moderated, with abusive accounts running rampant. Reports are not adequately handled and in the rare occasions reports are taken seriously, banned accounts return using VPNs. Rules around restricting permissions of new accounts for a period of a month when they are first created would deter abusers. All in all, action is needed to make Twitter safe for all and to rid it of toxicity.
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    Created by Ailbhe Ní Nualláin
  • Stop Ruhama from getting responsibility over Direct Provision for Sex Trafficking Survivors.
    In August 2020 it was announced that the Department of Justice is intending to set up a Direct Provision Centre for people who have fallen victim to the commercial sex trade which is to be run by DePaul and Ruhama. Victims of the commercial sex trade in this context means people who engaged in sex work or survivors of sex trafficking. We also believe other vulnerable people who have been victimised will be moved to this centre. While we welcome an end to human trafficking survivors being housed in Direct Provision, we would like to see everyone removed from Direct Provision and housed within communities. This step being a longer-term objective means we need to express our disapproval that Ruhama be placed in a position of responsibility within any new centre. Ruhama was founded by The Sisters of Charity and The Sisters of The Good Shephard. As of August 2020, Ruhama, while claiming to be secular, still had 3 members of the Sisters of The Good Shephard order on their board and pushes extreme ideology in relation to autonomy and sex work and sex trafficking. The Sisters of the Good Shephard and the Sisters of Charities claim to have a long history with “troubled women” from the 18th century until the eventual closure of the last laundry closing in the early 2000’s Magdalene Laundries were run by orders of nuns including the Sisters of the Good Shephard who both founded Ruhama and have current positions on their board. The Sisters of Charity too ran Magdalene Laundries. Both refused to meet their victims just a year ago. The orders trafficked women into commercial and domestic slavery and trafficked their children all around the world without consent, more sadly died. By the time the last Laundry closed the orders were involved in Ruhama. The abuses and inhumanity in the Magdalene Laundries run by The Sisters of Charity and The Sisters of the Good Shephard are finally coming into light in their full horror and in spite of attempts to seal the archives, the survivors and the public continue to fight to have them accessible for those they impacted. These two orders and those like them trafficked tens of thousands of vulnerable women and children. Putting an organisation which was founded and still claims members of an order who ran a human trafficking cartel in Ireland for decades, in a place of responsibility over vulnerable victims is absolutely irresponsible and completely ignores what we have learned from our own history. We must insist that Ruhama is taken out of the list of viable options for this role. Irish people continue to suffer at the hands of the Sisters of the Good Shephard and the Sisters of Charity and while we fight to ensure those victims still have the right to access their personal information, we must also ensure that we never allow institutions to be founded which we know have lead to abuse and degradation and damage to human life. Ruhama in its capacity as an anti sex trafficking organisation has derailed the anti- human trafficking efforts by focusing so much attention on sex trafficking while not acknowledging that labour trafficking has been the largest kind of trafficking in Ireland consistently until last year. We are unaware of any anti-labour trafficking organisation currently receiving any state funding. Child trafficking is also a serious issue on the ground when working in anti-human trafficking in Ireland, yet the only dedicated anti child trafficking organisation is not regularly funded by the Department of Justice. By conflating sex work and sex trafficking as similarly victimising Ruhama have inflated sex trafficking to be the largest nationwide trafficking phenomena which our work on the ground would discredit. We also find their attitude towards sex workers as “women in prostitution” and the lack of representation of sex workers and trafficking survivors within Ruhama to be massively problematic.
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    Created by Emma-Jane Dempsey
  • Call for Government to review treatment of Endometriosis
    The Endometriosis Association of Ireland (EAI) has quoted the waiting time for diagnosis as being up to nine years – longer than the seven-and-a-half years reported in the UK. Endometriosis affects can cause debilitating pain, heavy periods, painful sex, painful bowl and bladder movements, fatigue and infertility. The UK is finally starting to address this horrific condition and following an MP inquiry in the UK, the majority of people have shared stories of how their mental health, education and careers had been damaged by the condition. More than 10,000 people took part in the All-Party Political Group inquiry which found that 58% of people visited the GP more than 10 times before diagnosis and 53% went to A&E with symptoms before diagnosis. The majority of people also told MPs their mental health, education and careers had been damaged by the condition. About 90% said they would have liked access to psychological support but were never offered it, with 35% having a reduced income due to endometriosis. In survey of 13,500 women it found that half of them reported being addicted to painkillers and having suicidal thoughts. Due to a "gender pain gap" women's symptoms are often belittled by doctors, despite numerous visits to A&E, local GPs and specialists. Pain is notoriously hard to describe and pinpoint. But for women, the work is doubly arduous. We have to learn to advocate for ourselves and one another. But we need doctors and health professionals to meet us in the middle, believe our testimonies and help us over the line to diagnosis and treatment. With no cure for the condition and limited treatment including hormone therapy and surgery. It's time to call on the Government to establish a working group to address the long waiting times for diagnosis, treatment of the condition and the major psychological damage it has on the women who suffer from it. Endometriosis care across Ireland needs urgent improvement and diagnosis times need to be cut in half. We can't carry on like this, one in ten could means one day it could be you, your sister, girlfriend or friend suffering from this debilitating condition. *(Although endometriosis is most commonly referred to as a female disease. Endometriosis may also impact Trans/Cis Males. There are documented cases of cis men (someone who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth) who present with endometriosis of the prostate that is typically discovered when their body is introduced to estrogenic effects. There is also population of trans men (and trans women) who face living with endometriosis everyday whose experience with the disease goes un-researched) Additional Resources: Endometriosis Association of Ireland: https://www.endometriosis.ie/?gclid=CjwKCAjw_sn8BRBrEiwAnUGJDou2wgRqMbtuQ0nzBYwM0L8x9Dy_r69srSPgkoOX4hhnEdtIT37GDxoCkyMQAvD_BwE Endometriosis care needs urgent improvement, MPs say: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-54513072 Endometriosis showed me we need better ways to talk about women's pain: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/22/endometriosis-women-pain-diagnosis-report-mps?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other 'A lot of doctors fail to recognise it': Calls for government to review treatment of endometriosis': https://www.thejournal.ie/endometriosis-working-group-4840562-Oct2019/ Additional 'Endometriosis and Being a Trans Person: Beyond Gendered Reproductive Health' http://www.hormonesmatter.com/endometriosis-transgender-beyond-gendered-reproductive-health/
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    Created by Jennifer Hughes Picture
  • Urgent Support for Trans Communities
    Since the start of 2018, no new patients have been seen in the Northern Ireland adult gender identity clinic. There are now over 400 on the waiting list, some of whom have been on this list for over 4 years. While a review of these services was commissioned late last year, progress has been slow, and the Department and HSCB have been unwilling to meaningfully include and consult with trans communities. As a result, the majority of trans people in Northern Ireland who are currently accessing gender affirming care are doing so through private services, including those in England and further afield, or through self-medication. Those who self-medicate have been doing so to reduce the harm that is being done to them by the failure of statutory services to provide support and care while this review is ongoing and in the two years before it was commissioned. There is a mental health crisis in trans communities; while trans-led support groups and advocacy organisations are doing our best to support our communities, these groups are chronically under-funded and under-staffed. There is an urgent need for statutory services to step up and provide support to trans communities who have waited years for action.
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    Created by Transgender NI Picture
  • Reinstate Spike Island Workers
    Having lobbied for safe working conditions during a global pandemic and being unsuccessful, the workers' trade union, Unite, took on Spike Island management and won basic toilet and sanitation rights that had been shamefully denied to the workers for years. They have now been dismissed from their employment at the Kiosk on Kennedy Pier which is a blatant form of victimisation. No worker should suffer for standing up for their rights. #SupportSpikeWorkers
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    Created by Unite the Union Picture
  • Lift Maternity Restrictions in NI
    We believe that the restrictions currently in place due to the Covid outbreak are not necessary, not based on scientific evidence, are disrespecting human rights and are not proportionate to achieve the objective of limiting the spread of the virus. We are concerned about Birth and Perinatal Trauma and the long term Mental Health issues that these restrictions are causing/will cause.
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    Created by Meabh McGrotty
  • Amend the Harassment & Harmful Communications Bill
    The bill was categorised by the Law Reform Commission in 2016 after focus groups of young teens identified it as a privacy issue. However on greater examination it is clear that this should fall under sexual violence laws. It is important that people who engage in image based crime should face serious implications for sharing inappropriate images without consent. Also it is important that judges and barristers should understand the full impact on victims lives from the sharing of these images, and be trained up to deal with what is a reasonably new crime, with the age of smart phones and widespread internet access.
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    Created by Linda Hayden
  • Cancel Enda Kenny's railway series
    Politics is not entertainment and it's completely inappropriate for the state broadcaster to give a vanity series like this to a former Taoiseach and to promote the Fine Gael party who are in government. How many working in the arts are in need of a job? RTÉ should not be a retirement home for elderly men on multiple pensions; a man who arguably turned this country into a train wreck and did nothing for the railways. Enda also apparently knew about the Golfgate dinner & played golf on the day, but didn't inform anyone. There's no such thing as an innocent bystander. Cancel this! #golfgate #endakenny #ethics
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    Created by Norma Burke Picture
  • Tackle Human Trafficking NOT Consenting Sex Workers.
    The review of this legislation is accepting submissions until September 11th 2020. The Criminal Justice Act 2017 Part 4 was put in place after lobbying by individuals and groups, some of whom were founded by and still have members of religious orders who ran Magdalene Laundries in their organisations, who believe all sex work is exploitation. This is not the case. This stance means ALL sex workers are being classified as exploited which in turn is distracting efforts from identifying real human trafficking victims. Human trafficking victims exist in many industries in Ireland including agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing and many more. Child trafficking is also a problem in Ireland. Yet, we are targeting consenting sex workers. The belief was that the criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services would end the demand for sexual services. This has not come into fruition. Ireland has been downgraded to Tier Two Watch List in the latest Trafficking in Persons Report and there have been NO PROSECUTIONS for human trafficking in Ireland EVER. Consensual sex workers exist in Ireland and will always exist in Ireland. This legislation has unfairly targeted their earnings, their safety and their autonomy rather than tackling human traffickers. These people and organisations have had very little communication with sex workers or experience in investigating cases of sex trafficking or other forms of human trafficking. This means there are victims of trafficking who are not even being looked for. This law has cut the flow of information to Gardaí from sex workers about real trafficking victims and children being requested for exploitation. Not only that but violence against sex workers has increased to dangerous levels because clients are afraid to get caught and sex workers are stigmatised to the point where abuse is deemed a natural part of their work - which should never be the case. Nicer clients have been scared away by the illegality of purchasing of sexual services and many who are still buying sex are the ones who take risks, putting sex workers in Ireland in serious danger. Sex workers report more issues with clients regarding safe sex. Sex workers in Ireland are not legally allowed to work together for safety under Ireland ‘Brothel Keeping’ legislation so they do not even have that comfort. To make buying sex illegal On top of the Brothel Keeping legislation, without first ensuring sex workers have access to social services and housing and all the other things they need to survive is horrific. For these reasons we are demanding an end to the Criminal Justice Act Section 27 part 4! TACKLE HUMAN TRAFFICKERS NOT WORKING PEOPLE!
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    Created by Emma-Jane Dempsey