A convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence has come info force in Ireland.
The Istanbul Convention is described as a "significant, international, legal instrument in combatting domestic and sexual violence."
Its purpose is to protect women from all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence.
The convention also aims to ensure the design of a comprehensive framework, policies and measures for the protection of and assistance to all victims of such violence.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) will independently report to the Council of Europe's expert body GREVIO (Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence) on its implementation.
It has also set out its recommendations for key priority actions from the State.
It says data collection and reporting mechanisms on violence against women are currently lacking, and must be made more robust if the State is to understand the nature and scale of the issue.
It also says focus is required on combatting violence against specific groups of women - such as women with disabilities, those from Traveller and Roma communities, LGBTI+ women and women in institutional settings.
And it says access to specialist support services must be improved.
"Recent reports indicate that Ireland has less than a third of the number of domestic violence refuges required under EU standards, nine counties have no refuges.
"Services for victims must receive sustainable funding to meet diverse needs including for those with disabilities, and those who need interpretation", it says.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan says: "Protecting and supporting victims has been a key priority for this Government.
"Domestic and sexual violence are pernicious and widespread evils, affecting all social classes and genders.
"The entry into force of the Istanbul Convention sends an important message that Ireland will not tolerate violence against women and domestic violence.
"It is further proof of our commitment to protecting and supporting victims of this violence."
The convention was ratified by Ireland on March 8th this year, International Women's Day - becoming the 34th Council of Europe member state (out of 47) to ratify it.
States that have ratified the convention are legally bound by its provisions once it enters into force.