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24th Jun 2024

Frightening report reveals domestic violence is at an all-time high in Ireland

Kat O'Connor

It feels like Ireland has never been a safe place for women and recent domestic violence stats prove it

The safety of women in Ireland has been at the centre of every news bulletin, and WhatsApp chat following the Natasha O’Brien case. As domestic abuse cases reach an all-time high, we can’t help but wonder if we will ever feel safe here.

Generation after generation has been mistreated as the years have gone by. Women in Ireland have faced never-ending trauma with each generation taking on their own struggles.

We may have made progress as a country, but does any woman actually feel safe here?

Does any woman actually feel comfortable enough to walk through town alone in the dark?

You’ll likely struggle to find one woman who does.

Many see women as second-class citizens, and to a concerning number of people, we’re targets for domestic violence.

A recent, and completely harrowing, study by Women’s Aid found that domestic violence cases in Ireland have increased.

One in four women in Ireland is subjected to domestic abuse

In 2023, there were 40,048 disclosures of domestic abuse against women and children recorded. In just one year, that figure jumped by 18%, making it the highest number Women’s Aid has ever recorded.

Those who speak up and step forward possess a strength we’re in awe of, but they should not be living this way.

Women’s Aid CEO Sarah Benson stated:

“One in four women in Ireland is subjected to domestic abuse and there are also so many children, families, and whole communities also impacted.

“Fear, stigma, and self-blame due to the impact of the abuse – but also persisting social attitudes to domestic violence prevent victims from coming forward.

“So many victims-survivors lack the information or confidence to contact specialist services, and about one-third will suffer in total isolation, telling nobody is happening to them.”

“We should feel safe in the place we call home”

It’s vital to remember that these aren’t just figures plucked out of thin air. There is a person behind every one of these numbers and it’s a haunting fact we cannot ignore.

They’re the people you chat to at work, see in your local cafe, and bump into on the school run.

They’re people with lives that have been tainted because of their abusers.

Promises were made after we lost Urantsetseg Tserendorj, Jastine Valdez, Ana Kriégel, Nadine Lott, and Ashling Murphy, but the Government owes us more.

We should feel safe in the place we call home.

As Sarah Benson said “there are strong, resilient women” behind these statistics. They’re our friends, co-workers, and relatives, but most importantly they’re people who should feel safe, be protected, and listened to.

“We know that so many more women suffer alone, in silence, and without specialist support.

“Most of the women contacting the Women’s Aid National Freephone Helpline and regional face-to-face services disclosed that they were being subjected to and threatened with multiple forms of abuse at the same time, which constitutes coercive control by a current or former male intimate partner.”

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee believes it’s positive that women are coming forward, but we have so far to go.

“I think we have a long way to go. I think we’re in a much better space than we were.

“Women’s Aid last year saw more women than ever before seeking their help and I think we have to look at the positives of that,” she shared.

“I think it’s that more women are coming forward because we’re talking about it because we now have a whole-of-government strategy that says everybody has a responsibility to deal with this issue because we’re talking about changing behaviours more broadly because we’re talking about engaging with young people at the earliest stage to say that this type of behaviour and action is not to be tolerated.”

It is encouraging to know victims feel safe coming forward but the sheer number is disheartening, especially on an island where violence against women is not taken seriously enough.

If you’re suffering then you can contact Women’s Aid on 1800 341 900.