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Traveller inter-family violence a ‘pervasive’ problem

Inter-family violence is a pervasive problem affecting Traveller individuals and their families, with far reaching consequences for the Traveller community including mental health difficulties, imprisonment, injury and in some instances, death.

Research on the Impact of Traveller Interfamily Conflict on Individuals and Families will be discussed at a conference in Dublin today.

Thirty-eight people – the majority of whom were members of the Traveller community as well as members of An Garda Síochána – took part in the research.

The report says that the circulation of online content was raised repeatedly by participants as a driver of inter-family conflict.

It found that Traveller pride and family honour was frequently referred to by participants as the reason behind retaliation or responses to ‘call-out videos’ and social media.

The report recommended a tightening of social media laws in relation to Traveller inter-family violence.

The research sought to provide “an in-depth analysis” of the root causes of Traveller inter-family violence and its consequences.

While it acknowledged that a minority of Travellers engage in inter-family violence, it found that it negatively impacted on virtually all sections of the Traveller community.

It said this had evolved to “typically involve weapons, ramming of vehicles, destruction of property, that includes the setting of sites and homes on fire, and can result in loss of life, severe mental-health difficulties, and families forced to leave their homes”.

Inter-family conflict is not just a Traveller issue, as it is linked to the systemic erosion of Traveller culture and the unacceptable treatment of Travellers by the settled majority, stemming from decades of racist and discriminatory policies according to the report.

It has recommended that the Traveller community receive a State apology for discriminatory and assimilationist policies and practices.

Other recommendations include a targeted anti-racism policy; a culturally specific accommodation policy; more resources in targeted measures such as Traveller mediation and collaborative partnership projects with organisations such as the gardaí.

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