Republic of Ireland news

Stormont Executive asked to support campaign educating men on behaviour towards women

Ashling Murphy was killed while out running in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Stormont’s Executive Office is to be asked to launch a social media and television campaign to educate men and young boys on appropriate behaviour towards women.

The chair of its scrutiny committee made the suggestion amid growing concerns about gender-based violence following the death of Ashling Murphy.

The body of the talented musician and teacher was found on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly last Wednesday.

Vigils have been held across Ireland and the world to remember Ms Murphy.

The Executive Office committee chair Sinead McLaughlin said that fast action was needed to tackle Northern Ireland’s high domestic violence rates.

She told MLAs: “I wish to make some comment on the terrible murder of Ashling Murphy.

“And of course we need to remember all of the other victims of violence against women and girls.

“We must reflect on the fact that the murder rate against women here that is connected to domestic violence is the joint worst in the whole of western Europe.

“I believe that this is a crisis for women here in Northern Ireland.”

She added: “We know that the Executive Office is preparing a strategy addressing violence against women and girls and I think that we must reiterate to officials that this has to be a political priority.

“Although we need to get the policy right we must also make fast progress.

“Perhaps some action can be taken along the way rather than waiting for the completion of the strategy before we initiate any new actions.

“I am thinking of a social media campaign, perhaps a television campaign, highlighting the need for responsible and supportive behaviour among men and boys.

“It is essential that the education departments in all of our schools are fully engaged and supportive of any campaigns.

“I would like to propose that the Executive Office considers this first action to be initiated in advance of any strategy and any documents.

Ms McLaughlin proposed that the committee write to the Executive Office asking them to initiate a social media and television campaign to educate young men and boys on appropriate behaviour towards women.

The proposal was backed by the Executive Office committee.

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