12. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will report on the "What Would You Do?" awareness campaign relating to domestic violence and abuse. [40442/16]


Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: I thank the Deputy for raising the issue of domestic violence. As she knows, I am absolutely committed to dealing with this issue by taking the actions that are necessary, ranging from stronger legislation and awareness campaigns - I will address this particular campaign in a moment - to supports for those who are working on the front line. Over the past two years, I have engaged in a great deal of consultation with the non-governmental organisations that are working in this area. The overall aims of the "What Would You Do?" campaign are to increase awareness of domestic and sexual violence, to bring about a change in long-established societal attitudes and behaviours and to activate bystanders with the aim of decreasing and preventing this violence. I believe these goals are achievable. We have looked at the international research in this regard. All evaluations of similar anti-domestic violence campaigns around the world have found that experience of domestic violence has declined and awareness of how common it is has increased. There has also been an increase in people's willingness to discuss the matter and to report domestic violence incidents to police. Obviously, we do not want people who witness domestic violence to put themselves at risk in any way.
I am sure the Deputy will agree with me that it is important to open the door much more on the sad reality of domestic violence in Irish society. We have had some feedback since the campaign began. There have been 88,000 visits to the website. It is interesting to note that the majority of the visitors to the website have been from the 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 age groups, which account for 50% of visitors to the website. A further 15% of visitors to the website are in the younger age bracket of 18 to 24. The YouTube channel has seen 85,000 views of these advertisements since 5 December. I believe this campaign has led to far more discussion of the issue of domestic violence in our national and local media. All of the organisations working in domestic violence have made themselves available to go out and give the proper information about what people should do. Obviously, they have been part and parcel of this campaign as it has proceeded. The campaign is based on research. It is just one part of the answer. It is important that this approach is being taken in Ireland.