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14th Jun 2022

Over 33,800 disclosures of abuse made to Women’s Aid are “just the tip of the iceberg”

Katy Brennan

“Lives have been devastated by the scourge of male violence.”

Women’s Aid has released its impact report for 2021, which reveals 33,831 domestic abuse disclosures were made to the organisation last year.

28,096 of these disclosures were of abuse against women and 5,735 were of abuse against children.

Sarah Benson, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said that throughout the year, calls from women were considerably longer on average, and their needs were often more complex than before.

The organisation also experienced more frequent calls in the “quietest and darkest hours of the night”.

“For a second year, the Covid-19 emergency had a huge impact on victims of domestic violence,” she says.

“Behind our figures released today are real women and families whose lives have been devastated by the scourge of male violence.  Women who are trying to protect and keep safe themselves and their children in the face of unrelenting pressures.

“Last year, women told us that their partners or ex-partners were subjecting them to a broad and brutal pattern of abuse.

“Women reported assaults with weapons; constant surveillance and monitoring; relentless put downs and humiliations; the taking and sharing of intimate images online, complete control over all family finances; sexual assault, rape, and being threatened with theirs or their children’s lives.

“The impacts on these women were chilling and ranged from exhaustion, isolation, and hopelessness; to being brutalised and wounded, suffering miscarriages, poverty, feeling a loss of identity and suicide ideation, hyper-vigilance; and homelessness.”

Ailbhe Smyth, Chair of Women’s Aid said the public – women and male allies – must work together to create change for everyone in society.

“Today, there is an increased recognition in Irish society that domestic abuse and all forms of male violence against women are not women’s issues, but an issue for men…

“Recent and terrible events have again highlighted persistent issues with misogyny and structural gender inequality, which are both cause and consequence of male violence against women.

“I call on more men to become allies in creating zero tolerance of all forms of violence women, including domestic abuse. Now is the time to be brave and ambitious.”

If you have been affected affected by any of the issues raised in this article, contact Women’s Aid 24/7 on 1800 341 900.