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Experts call for a National Research and Knowledge Hub to address the elimination of gender-based abuse and save lives

Haven Horizons, a voluntary organisation committed to the elimination of gender-based violence in our society, and the EDGE Research Group based at the Technological University of the Shannon, today (30.11.21) held a webinar on the role gender-based abuse research can play in helping to eliminate gender-based violence and save lives.

According to today’s webinar, a key action to work towards eliminating gender-based abuse in Ireland would be to develop a National Research and Knowledge Hub addressing gender-based abuse.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD addressed the webinar entitled Enhancing Engaged Research and Research Translation in the field of Gender-Based Abuse’ and Dr. Jacqui Cameron from the University of Wollongong, Australia delivered the keynote address.

Commenting today, Madeline Mc Aleer, Training, Research and Development Director at Haven Horizons, said: “The key focus of our webinar was to highlight the importance of making research connected so that it benefits frontline organisations and individuals directly impacted by gender-based abuse. According to Women’s Aid, 242 women have died violently between 1996-2020. Ultimately, through our partnership with the EDGE Research Group we want to support not just researchers but policy makers, the criminal justice system, service-providers and survivors, who rely on research to improve policy and services in the area of gender-based abuse.”

 As part of the webinar, Haven Horizons and the EDGE Research Group updated attendees on their joint project to create a database of Irish gender-based abuse research and researchers. The two organisations outlined how a National Research and Knowledge Hub addressing gender-based abuse will improve research in the area and strengthen its societal impact.

Dr Lisa O’Rourke Scott, Principal Investigator at EDGE, commented: “A database of Irish gender-based abuse research and researchers will make it easier for researchers to network, form collaborations and share knowledge. A key aim of this would be to facilitate engaged research that can be translated into positive societal change to support those affected by gender-based abuse. It would also help bridge the gap between research findings, practice, and policy.

“A research and knowledge hub for gender-based abuse research will make research in the area of gender-based abuse in Ireland more coherent, engaged and impactful.  The hub would be rooted in the practical and academic expertise of Haven Horizons and EDGE.”

Other speakers at the webinar included:

  • Professor Vincent Cunnane, President, Technological University of the Shannon;
  • Kate Morris, Head of Campus Engage, Irish Universities Association;
  • Dr Charlotte McIvor, National University of Ireland, Galway;
  • Dr Padraig MacNeela, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Opening the webinar, President of TUS Professor Vincent Cunnane said: “To effect real change in the area of gender-based abuse we must effect real change in society. Education is critical in this, and to be really effective it must be informed by research. At TUS our researchers in EDGE have been leading the way in this field and in conjunction with Haven Horizons providing the most informed education to front line services through the level 6 “Reflecting on and Responding to Domestic Abuse and Coercive Control” programme, as well as leading nationally in research in this field. I congratulate this formidable team of researchers, educators, and frontline practitioners on their work to date and look forward to seeing how this reach further impacts the work in preventing gender-based violence and abuse.”

The webinar was funded by the Irish Research Council’s New Foundations programme, which brings researchers and community/voluntary organisations together to share knowledge and develop new insights to help create a better society for all.

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