I join Members once again in reading into the record of the House my deepest condolences to Ashling Murphy's family; her boyfriend, Ryan; her friends; her work colleagues; her pupils; and members of her local and wider community in County Offaly. Although nearly two weeks have passed since this tragic occurrence, there remains a palpable sense of shock in every community throughout the country. The outpouring of grief, support and demonstration is a very clear indication to us that the issue of violence against women has been simmering beneath the surface of our society on a much wider scale than had previously been recognised. Although Ashling Murphy's immediate community in County Offaly has closely felt the harsh brunt of this trauma, the chilling effect on women has rippled out to every corner of our island. As a national community, we are now facing the harsh reality that many women in Ireland are, unfortunately, living in fear of violence. We must reflect deeply on this and the picture it portrays of our so-called "modern society" if women do not feel safe in their own communities.
I very much welcome the comments of the Minister for Justice in this House last week on the development of the third national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. The Minister, Deputy McEntee, has been working on this strategy for over a year and has listened to those in the sector and those who work on the front line. The work, support and contribution from the front-line cohort will prove invaluable to this process, as will the input of victims and survivors. Obviously, it can be very difficult for victims and survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault and other forms of violence against women to relive the traumas they have suffered, but they have done so with the greater good in mind, and I commend them on their heroic efforts. There is a whole-of-government approach to the development of the third national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. The process will receive input from the Departments of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth; Housing, Local Government and Heritage; Education; Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; Social Protection; Transport; and so on. There will also be input from our State agencies, and I am truly encouraged that the all-embracing nature of this approach reflects a tenacious determination from all of us in government to make a lasting impact on this issue. I am reassured that this strategy will be underpinned by clear actions, timelines for reform and robust accountability mechanisms. Having discussed such matters with my Government colleagues this past week, I am also confident that this process will be provided with the necessary resources. It will be built on four pillars, namely prevention, protection, prosecution and policy co-ordination. The goal, as stated by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice last week, is very clear: zero tolerance of violence and abuse against women.
Everyone has a contribution to make to this movement, which needs to start from the ground up and requires not just a whole-of-government approach but a whole-of-society response also. We must not and cannot accept a situation by which fear, harassment and violence towards women is normalised to any degree. We cannot be bystanders. We must call out all misogyny, intimidation and violence against women by men when we witness it. As I stated last week, men can make a huge difference in this process in leading by example, showing our younger boys and men that such behaviours are no longer acceptable and need to be replaced by an enhanced level of respect for women. The men in our society need to be more active and understanding about the issues which face women in this country each and every day.
I believe there is a strong willingness among the majority of men to be part of the solution and this is a positive starting point. However, we have an awful lot to do if we are to see the mass culture shift which is obviously required to better all facets of our society for women. We need to remind ourselves of all the women in our lives, who are so close to our hearts, as we strive for the monumental shift in culture that is required within our society. The mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, partners, nieces and friends we rely on in our everyday lives are the women we should look to for motivation on this journey toward meaningful change.