Anyone convicted of a domestic violence offence should be placed on a register with Gardaí obliged to inform families about their past.
Sunday Times columnist Brenda Power is calling for the introduction of a domestic violence register that could let people know when their partner has a history of domestic violence.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning she backed a campaign for the introduction of the register from Jason Poole, whose sister Jennifer was murdered by her partner in April of last year.
She said the man told Jennifer he had just come back from Spain when he first met her – when in fact, he had just been released from prison after a knife attack on his previous partner and her mother.
“We need something akin to the sex offenders register where somebody who has been convicted of a crime falling into this category is on a register and must register with their local garda station if they move locations within the country,” said Ms Power.
She said the system would mean people could go the Gardai and ask whether their new partner has a history of domestic violence.
If someone is on the register, Gardai would be obliged to tell them. The information would be available to family members and others with a direct interest in someone’s life.
“I was just looking back through last week’s court reports of Dublin criminal cases alone and there were three violent men with strings of previous convictions who had assaulted their partners,” she said.
“What this law allows is for families, the partners themselves or anyone with a direct interest in knowing about a violent history to approach the local gardaí and say, look, here’s the chap’s name does he have a history of violence and the Gardaí have to reveal it.”
She said that a similar system might have given the Poole family a chance to save Jennifer’s life.
“I can’t see why there should be a problem with this,” she said.
“Every county bar nine has a shelter where women go to hide out when they are being beaten up by violent men.
“It seems to be the ones that should be behind bars and barbed wire are not the women fleeing. That’s why we need to be an awful lot more proactive about addressing this scourge.”